A MAN who became involved in a large brawl after walking home from an anti-mosque demonstration has been cleared.

Adam Handley, of Wilton Street, Astley Bridge, denied unlawful violence following the incident, which saw a fight break out in the William Hill bookmakers in Halliwell Road.

But at Bolton Crown Court, a jury unanimously found Handley not guilty after deliberating for about 90 minutes.

The case had heard that Handley, aged 25, had been accused of being a racist on a Facebook page named Exposing Bolton and Manchester Racism, and his address and telephone number had also been published.

He told the court he had attended a demonstration on the steps of Bolton Town Hall on June 29 last year, which was attended by more than 100 other protestors.

After having a drink in the Elephant and Castle pub, in Deansgate, he began to walk home via Halliwell Road.

The court was told that while Handley was walking home, at about 3.45pm, an Asian man pulled up in his car, and the two traded insults.

Handley was seen on CCTV picking up a roadworks sign.

In court he said he had done this to protect himself.

The situation escalated, and a the court was told that Handley said: "If you are going to do it, bring it in here where you are on camera."

A large scale fight then broke out in the bookmakers, knocking over tables and damaging equipment.

Staff at the bookmakers called the police, and Handley was later arrested.

Handley told the court that he believed it was a "racist attack" against himself — and that he had begun to be targeted because of the picture which had been posted on Facebook.

He accepted that he had been violent, but said it was only in self defence.

Rizwan Umar, aged 28, of Rawson Road, Heaton; Yasin Marviadi, aged 24, of Witney Close, Halliwell; and Zakir Channa, aged 24, of Martindale Gardens, Halliwell; all previously admitted their part in the brawl.

They will be sentenced on May 11.