A WORCESTERSHIRE County Council candidate has reported a hate crime to police after being labelled a “nasty little Nazi” alongside a homophobic slur on a defaced campaign leaflet.

Matt Snape, formerly a Conservative councillor with Wychavon District Council, is standing for Reform UK having been overlooked by the Tories for the Evesham North seat in May’s county council elections.

But having hit the campaign trail, Mr Snape received one of his pamphlets back through the letterbox of his home address with a cross daubed with pen to make it look like a Swastika alongside the two offensive comments.

He insists it will not put him off standing but that he has concerns for the safety of his fiancée, while he has also decided to take down his Facebook page.

“I was quite shocked,” said Mr Snape.

“I know this type of behaviour has happened in politics for a very long time but I have stood in four elections and never suffered this abuse when I was a Conservative.

“Just because I voted to leave the EU and join Reform UK – the former Brexit Party – all of a sudden that makes me a Nazi, that is just ignorance.

“I was a bit concerned not only for my safety but for my fiancée as well, she is not remotely political and having to put our election agent’s address at the bottom of leaflets can put you in danger. It is not nice and to be honest I think that law needs to be revised.

“It wouldn’t put me off standing, if anything it makes me more determined to get my leaflets out there.

“I find people’s behaviour on social media can be quite intimidating and put people off, it hasn’t put me off but it can have that effect.

“I have closed my Facebook, I don’t want to be on there. The negatives outweigh the positives.

Mr Snape declared himself satisfied with the response of West Mercia Police who he said had “taken it seriously”.

He added: “I would encourage the person who has done this to come forward to the police as soon as possible and co-operate.

“No political candidate, regardless of their beliefs or what they stand for, should have to go through this. It is not just the candidates that get affected, it is their partners, husbands, wives and children.

“It is not right and it has to be stamped out.”

Mr Snape resigned from the Conservative group in January 2018 after retweeting – an action that repeats a post made by another user on social media site Twitter – a joke that used a picture of Adolf Hitler.

Asked whether he believed the slurs to be connected to that, Mr Snape replied: “I can understand why some people may come to the conclusion that this is connected but I don’t think it is related to that.

“I think it is someone who has a grudge against me and hates the fact I have gone over to Reform.

“The year after that Hitler-meme story was published, I stood as a Conservative candidate and none of my leaflets were vandalised with Nazi references.

“Now I have gone to Reform, suddenly I get called a Nazi.”

West Mercia Police has been contacted for comment.