BREXIT has resulted in “open season” for a minority to be prejudiced or racist, it has been said.

New Home Office figures show the number of hate crime reports logged by Wiltshire Police has doubled in the past five years.

Coun Junab Ali, Swindon’s first Bangladeshi mayor and a member of the Wiltshire police and crime panel, said: “We see spikes when certain things happen. With Brexit, there are a number of people who think it’s open season to be prejudiced or racist to different communities in our town and country.”

Wiltshire and Swindon police and crime commissioner Angus Macpherson said: “There is never an excuse for this time of crime. However, the current political uncertainty in this country around Brexit, along with the anonymity social media can give can exacerbate this awful crime.”

The figures released by government give no indication about whether the rise in hate crime reports is linked to Brexit.