Racist crimes in Chichester have doubled since the UK voted for Brexit, police figures reveal.
A Freedom of Information request revealed that crimes with a racist element rose by 105 per cent in the year after the EU referendum.
But Chichester District Council said the main increase was ‘not related to Brexit’.
The figures show the number of crimes recorded as having a racist element in the year before 23 June 2016 (the day of the EU referendum) and the year after.
In the year before the Brexit vote police recorded 35 racist crimes in Chichester.
In the year after the figure shot up to 72.
Increases were seen in particular in the city itself, with figures spiking by 176 per cent.
Chichester narrowly voted to leave the EU in 2016’s referendum, with 51 per cent voting to leave compared to 49 per cent voting to remain.
But the council denied that Brexit was the main cause for the increase.
A council spokesman said: “The main increase in the racist crime figures was due to some graffiti that appeared across the Hornet and Chichester East.
“This was carried out by one person who was caught, and dealt with appropriately. This was a random event which was not related to Brexit or any racist activity, and did not result in any significant community tension.
“Overall, the racist crime and incident figures for Chichester District are low compared to other areas of the county. “Our Community Safety team works closely with our partners to encourage people to feel confident about reporting this type of crime.
“If concerns are identified, we work closely with Sussex Police, Victim Support and West Sussex County Council to help resolve them.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne said: “After members of my team held a series of workshops with local charities and specialist services, I decided to make a tranche of funding available to specifically support victims of hate crime who have been targeted because of their race, religion, gender identity, sexuality, disability, or age,” said Sussex PCC Katy Bourne.”
Funding from the PCC’s office has gone to a variety of organisations in the region to help fight hate crime.