An Eastern European woman living in Diss has told of her shock after a handwritten ‘go back home’ sign was placed on the gate of her property last week.
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, described it as “very unpleasant” and said she felt uncomfortable.
Generally people are really nice, but it is just sad some people think it is normal to do that sort of thing now
Norfolk Police are now investigating, and are appealing for any information. It took place overnight on Wednesday, July 5.
She said she has not experienced a hate incident like this since arriving in England three years ago.
“We thought it was surprising. I come from the Ukraine, and a lot of brain washing happens there and in Russia but we thought Britain was better than that, so it was surprising to me that it was happening here,” she said. “It is not normal but it happens more often now, especially after Brexit, and it is worrying.
“It didn’t feel very nice but there are lots of really wonderful people in the community and our neighbourhood.
“Generally people are really nice, but it is just sad some people think it is normal to do that sort of thing now.
“This is my home and I live here, so for someone to put that sign on the gate, it is a bit silly.”
Her husband said he felt there had been a spike in hate crime since the Brexit referendum last year, and coverage from some of the national media on immigration, including The Sun and the Daily Mail, may have “normalised” this behaviour.
“I was very shocked,” he told the Diss Express. “I never really thought something like that would happen in Diss.
“Unless you speak to my wife, you would not know she is not British – it is not an immediately obvious thing.
“I don’t have the data to hand but I know there has been a clear statistical increase in hate crimes, not only to Eastern Europeans but the Muslim community too, since recent terrorist attacks.”
He continued: “The newspapers are not afraid of IPSO (the Independent Press Standards Organisation). During the General Election coverage, some of the right-wing press attacked Jeremy Corbyn, labelling him as a terrorist sympathiser and anti-British, how do they get away with this, in this day and age?
“We need a fair and balanced press, how can they get away with writing whatever they want to sell papers to push the agendas of their owners?
“How often has The Sun had to print an apology or a retraction?
“Since we posted the message on Facebook, 99.9 per cent of people have been really supportive which is nice, and nice to see that there are people around that condemn that. We don’t want to paint the whole of Diss as racists or bigots because that is not the case.”
In Norfolk between July 2015 and May 2016, there were 513 hate crimes reported. Between July 2016 and March 2017, that figure was 396.
In Suffolk, 275 hate crimes, specifically in relation to race, religion or faith, were reported between July 2015 and May 2016.
In the period from July 2016 and May 2017, 390 were reported.
Anyone with information about the incident should contact police on 101.