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Police investigating after motorbike with swastikas and Holocaust imagery appeared at Leamington Spa event

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Police are investigating after a bike painted with Nazi and Holocaust imagery was spotted at a public bike event in Leamington.

A recent motorbike street event 'Bikerlott' was held in Old Town in Leamington Spa where scores of bikes were on display.

According to the Leamington Courier, among the many bikes parked up for the public to see one bike has caused controversy.

Warwick District Council were meeting with the organisers of the event on the back on the event to discuss the matter, but the outcomes of the meeting are unknown..

The bike in question was painted with Nazi and Holocaust imagery including an SS death's head, swastikas, the gates of Auschwitz and a KKK number plate, which shocked visitor Darren Bernstein.

He said: "I came to the areas specifically for the Bikerlott event and it's the first time I have been and I was shocked and appalled to see a bike with swastikas and similar images on. It is out of order.

"The registration of the bike also had KKK on it. I was shocked to see at what is supposed to be a family-friendly event a bike that is so obviously racist.

"I appreciate that this is an individual's bike but this was at a public event, but the symbols are quite clearly racist.

"It's genuinely disgusting. My family fought in the war to destroy that symbol and I am Jewish. This is not acceptable.

"The artwork is not beautiful it normalises racism. If you have it as a private bike at home it's a free county but when you put it in the public to show off it's wrong.

"I contacted the organisers on the day via Facebook and complained about the bike and I also contacted Warwick District Council about the bike. I was then advised to contact the organisers again where I asked them for assurance that no future event would have anything like this again.

"An explanation would have also been nice and that would have been enough and they haven't even contacted me."

Sandy Hunter, director of LOTT (Leamington Old Town Ltd), which organised Bikerlott, said: "Sadly this was an oversight on our behalf. None of us saw the offending bike, nor could we do anything to avoid it.

"It is with regret that one person out of 2-3,000 attendees has been offended by this bike. On the whole we had only good feedback form people regarding the event.

"However, this one person has also reported to the council and we are having a meeting on Tuesday (6th August 2019) to try and sort out the problem.

"Of course none of us condone the KKK and what it stands for, but as we don't have policing authority and it is not a criminal offence, we could do nothing about it even if we had seen it ourselves.

"No one complained on the day to any of us and we were all visible in hi vis jackets.

"This person has taken it upon himself to make a point and cause a vast amount of trouble for our company as a whole."

The biker whose bike caused the controversy said he did not wish to make a comment.

The swastika is a symbol that was used in the 20 thcentury by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi army and it is a symbol that now represents the slaughter of millions of people and one of the most destructive wars on Earth (WWII).

It is very clear to see how this symbol can cause offence and there will be people living today that have family members and close friends that would have been killed and affected by WWII.  

Although incidents of this nature are rare, they do occur, and people should always report if they witness any symbols that could cause offence.

There are various ways for people to report offensive graffiti, posters or symbols.  

You can ring the Police by calling 101 in a non-emergency situation, but always call 999 in an emergency. 

In Warwickshire, some people do not wish to contact the police directly, so they can report hate crimes/incidents to EQuIP, who will protect a persons identity and not pass on any details of the report without prior consent.

Reports to EQuIP can be made online via the www.reporthatenow.com website, you can send an email: advice@equipequality.org.uk, or for those that prefer to speak to someone in person, you can contact telephone EQuIP on 01788 863117 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).

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