A MOURNER was ejected from Blackburn Cathedral then searched by police after church leaders thought he was a BNP troublemaker.

Phylllip Cadwallader, who had wanted to light a candle in memory of his mum, said he had been left angry and disgusted at the cathedral’s harsh judgement of him.

He was offered an ‘apology’ for their ‘unfounded suspicions’ which appear to have arisen because of his shaven head.

Mr Cadwallader said: “I am starting to go bald so I have my hair cut short to hide that, not because of my political persuasion."

The keen runner had stopped at Blackburn Cathedral at 8am on Sunday en route to a race in Accrington.

The 43-year-old, dressed in a shirt, pants and brogues, was told he could sit quietly while BBC Radio 4 conducted a live programme on concentration camp victim Anne Frank from inside the cathedral. But then moments later he was told he would have to leave.

After stepping outside, the former autism support worker was approached by police officers, who said they had been told he might be a BNP member trying to cause trouble because of the nature of the programme.

Mr Cadwallader, of Preston New Road, Blackburn, then had his rucksack, containing his running kit, searched.

He said: "I was really angry and embarrassed by the whole experience.

“The officers told me that someone had thought I was from the BNP because I was tall and have short hair, like a skinhead.”

His mother Phyllis died four years ago.

Mr Cadwallader said: "When I woke up in the morning and the sun was shining I thought it was such a lovely day that I would go and pay a tribute to my mum before I went running.

“The choir was singing in the background and it was lovely as I lit my candle.

“Then the Dean came and asked me to leave, but he wouldn't tell me why.

"As I was sat on a bench outside wait-ing for them to finish the radio programme a police officer came up to me and said she would need to check my bag. When they told me why I just couldn't believe it. I am not a BNP member. I was quite disgusted by it all.”

Police said they had been called to the cathedral because a man was believed to be acting suspiciously.

A police spokesperson said: “Officers spoke to Mr Cadwallader and had no concerns. “ Cathedral officials have offered an apology to Mr Cadwallader and said they had asked him to leave because of previous problems during radio broadcasts from the site.

Canon Chris Chivers said: "The last time we did a radio broadcast it was sabotaged when somebody pulled out wires.

"The BNP are known Holocaust deniers.

“The gentleman arrived two minutes before the programme went out live and it aroused suspicions. Obviously those suspicions were unfounded.”