A Muslim convert who harassed worshippers and attempted to set fire to a mosque has been detained under the Mental Health Act, a magistrates court heard.

Damian Royston Smith, 30, of Lambourne Gardens, Essex, harassed worshippers at the Tooting Islamic Centre, in Upper Tooting Road, over five days.

South Western Magistrates Court heard that he converted to Islam seven years ago but lost contact with the Imam Suliman Gani.

On November 15 last year Iftikhar Hussain, a volunteer security worker at the mosque, said Smith shouted racist abuse outside the prayer room in the mosque.

He went on to charge into the mosque doors with a whisky bottle.

The next day Smith barged Vase Siddiqi and shouted racist abuse at him outside the mosque.

Two days later, he was arrested by two policemen for attempted arson after he tried to set fire to the mosque with matches and a plastic bag filled with tomato tin cans.

He said he was sleeping rough and wanted to be arrested so he had somewhere to sleep, having suffered from mental health problems in the past.

Smith has been detained in Goodmayes Hospital, Ilford, under the Mental Health Act the court heard on Thursday, March 8.