REPORTS of hate crimes in Colchester almost doubled around the time of the EU referendum, the Gazette can reveal.

Between June 20 and July 13 there were 18 incidents reported compared to ten during the same period in 2015.

Hate crimes are incidents which the victim believe were motivated by prejudice due to their race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "We do not tolerate hate crime.

"Whether it is an incident that takes place online or in the street, it is important to let us know about hate crime to give us a chance to investigate and prosecute offenders and to ensure that victims and the wider community are protected."

During one incident 81-year-old Nancy Ward was harassed and verbally abused by a gang of youths who ordered here to "go home".

Mrs Ward, originally of Chinese descent has lived in England since 1964 and Colchester since 1969.

On Tuesday, June 28 at about 5pm, she was approached on the corner of Straight Road and Dugard Avenue.

Since the incident officers from Colchester police station have been attempting to find the youths.

A spokesman for the force said: "Contact has been made with all schools in Colchester."

Following the rise in reports Colchester Council tabled a motion condemning the rise.

It is due to be voted on at a meeting on July 27.

Following the rising number of incidents in Colchester and beyond the Crown Prosecution Service also released a statement urging victims to come forward.

Prosecutors revealed there is an 85 per cent conviction rate in the East.

Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS East of England, Jenny Hopkins, said: “Hate crime is based on prejudice and hostility which has no place in our society.

"It may be demonstrated by offensive language, criminal damage, serious assaults and sometimes even murder, but perpetrators should be aware that we treat all cases seriously and we will work hard with the police to make sure that justice is done.

“Our conviction rate is a strong one and members of the public can have confidence their cases will be prosecuted robustly and, if they are victims or witnesses, that they will be supported."

Anyone who is a victim, or who witnesses hate crime, can call Essex Police on 101 to report all non-urgent cases or report online at A spokesman for the force said: "If you or anyone else is in immediate danger call 999."