Has a recent appeal to victims to come forward seen more hate crimes reported in North Devon, or are the London attack and Brexit to blame?

In the wake of an appeal for victims of hate crime to come forward there has been an increase of reported incidents in the North Devon area.

In March local police urged anyone who was the victim of racism, homophobic or other hate crimes to come forward and promised a 'zero tolerance' approach to anyone found guilty.

The numbers are relatively low, but North Devon has seen a spike of incidents with five crimes reported in the past month, compared with 18 for all of the past year.

The local policing area (LPA) from Lynton to Tavistock has seen 103 hate crimes in the past 12 months, but 17 in the past month alone.

North Devon Sector Inspector Roger Bartlett said police were monitoring whether there was a link between the recent London terror attack or Brexit, both of which continue to play out in the media.

But he said: "We will always deal very robustly with crimes that are motivated by hate, whether over nationality or sexual orientation.

"It's an aggravating factor that can lead to greater sentences. All we can do is encourage people to report it and then to do the best possible job we can to reassure the victims and bring those responsible to justice."

Insp Bartlett said recent incidents included a drunken man abusing people of Eastern European origin at a North Devon holiday park as well as a 30-year-old man arrested in Ilfracombe for racially aggravated public order offences.