Police are on the look-out for a pair of homophobic pamphleteers who have been handing out hateful tracts in Market Harborough - one of whom was dressed as a monk.
The propagandists, who posted the brown leaflets through Harborough letterboxes on Tuesday, have been angrily criticised by residents as “hateful bigots”.
One of the men has been described by residents as about 5ft 9ins tall, thin, bald - and was wearing a black cape reminiscent of a monk.
The leaflets contain offensive religious rants about gay men and women.
Most of the leaflets appear to have been delivered in the streets off Northampton Road in town.
“This is not a joke, neighbours chased him away in his monk-wear,” said town resident Laura Heaps on Twitter. “I’m shaking with anger that some sick, homophobic bigot lives this close to me and my kids,” she added.
A spokesman for Leicestershire police confirmed to the Mail that they are investigating an incident involving the distribution of homophobic leaflets in Market Harborough.
The police say they were first contacted at 3.35pm on Tuesday by a resident in Granville Street complaining about the content of the leaflet.
Officers attended the scene, but the leaflet distributors had left.
Subsequently, several more people from Northampton Road, Bath Street and Claxton Street have been in touch with police.
A police spokesman said: “We are looking to speak to two men; a man in a monk’s outfit, and a man in aged his late 30s.”
Several residents have also reported it as a hate-crime via Leicestershire County Council’s hate-crime reporting website and to Harborough District Council.
The district council-run Harborough District Community Safety Partnership said on Twitter: “Just been given a copy of a hate lead at Harborough District Council.
“If you have received a homophobic leaflet through your door this morning [Tuesday] please report it and get support.”
People can do that by clicking on the www.harborough.gov.uk//crime_prevention/hate_incidents website.
Resident Jonny Bizzlak added on Twitter: “Police knocking on doors on Granville Street asking for info on people posting offensive material.”
Dennis Bradley, a spokesman for the Leicester Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Centre, said the group is a supporter of the freedom of speech, but said ‘However this material goes beyond the scope of fair, impartial speech intended to encourage debate’.
He added: “This pamphlet is patently made to inflame irrationality and encourage divisiveness and hatred against the LGBT communities.
“This tract purports to use religious dogma to justify an objectifying, demonising and dehumanising approach to the LGBT communities.
“This judgemental critic using phrases to reduce LGBT people to no more than sexual predators. The use of words associating LGBT people to paedophilia and pederasty is deliberately done to slander an entire people. Nothing more, nothing less. Debate regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, as with the debate regarding religious tolerance, is one expressed solely with reasoned, rational discussion.
“Leicester LGBT Centre works with many faith organisations. The opinions expressed by this writer do not reflect their religious values either.
“This editorial filth does nothing more than instil a sense of intolerance and fear. These words are an example of what a civilised society turns its back on.”
He added that the leaflets could possibly be linked to this Saturday’s gay pride march in Leicester.
Story by Alex Blackwell.