A FAR-right group has claimed responsibility for putting up “hate crime” posters in the city, linking Muslims with child grooming gangs.

Police are treating the posters as a hate crime and the Worcester Muslim Welfare Association has condemned the posters.

They say the ‘mischievous’ posters are aimed at dividing a peaceful community in Worcester.

The association says the posters have been plastered across the city centre over the last two weeks.

The posters say: Protect Children ... Fight Grooming Gangs (which is written in Arabic typography).

The right-wing British Renaissance Policy Institute (BRPI) said its members were responsible for the poster campaign.

Jack Sen, the founder of the BRPI, said: “I am pleased my men have taken the initiative to do something on their own.

“The British Renaissance Worcester branch are the ones putting up the signs in Worcester. We have 25 members in Worcester.

“We had a meeting in Worcester two-and-a-half months ago and encouraged them to protest peacefully and legally.

“We gave them different ideas. We don’t want them to go into the streets...and behave like a terrorist organisation and cause trouble.

“We have to do it in an aggressive but legal manner. Those [posters] I’m assuming are the leftovers from the British National Party (BNP). [Nick] Griffin had nothing to do with it, he’s not involved in any way.”

Mr Sen, aged 40, who affiliates himself with the American ‘alt-right’, grew up in Malvern and previously stood as a UKIP parliamentary candidate in West Lancashire before he was suspended and joined the BNP.

He also lived in America for 16 years and said he was recently involved in the Charlottesville protests.

He set up the BRPI in 2014 and recruited Carl Mason, a former BNP candidate for Worcester City Council, as deputy leader of the group.

Mr Mason, who organises the Worcester BRPI branch, said: “Regarding the placards appearing around town.

"My men were given the resources and authorisation to peacefully protest and leaflet in Worcester at the last BRPI meeting conducted by former UKIP politician Jack Sen.

“Money to pay for our activism was sourced from Mr Sen’s fine supporters in Britain as well as ‘alt-right’ organisations based in the United States.”

Mr Mason added that he expects the local branch to expand in the next few months as it has several peaceful actions planned.

Mohammed Iqbal, general secretary of the Worcester Muslim Welfare Association, condemned the posters, which have appeared ahead of the Eid al-Adha celebrations.

He said: “The aim of these posters and using symbols associated with our religion is pure mischievousness and nothing more than to create division between our peace loving community of Worcester.

“These posters have been seen by the community and have been slowly popping up in the last two weeks.

“We have seen these in Lowesmoor, Tolladine, Ronkswood and other areas.

“Child sex exploitation is condemned and should be reported and any individual involved should be severely punished.”

Inspector Tanya Beckett, of Worcester Safer Neighbourhood Team, said police received a report of an offensive poster in Tallow Hill, Worcester, on Saturday, August 26.

“Officers attended and removed the poster and are currently treating the incident as a hate crime,” she said.

“I would like to remind people that any activities designed to incite hate within the communities we serve will not be tolerated by West Mercia Police and will be thoroughly investigated.”

Inspector Beckett urged anyone with information about the posters to ring 101, quoting incident number 450s of August 26.