Police are investigating a hate crime after a pig’s head was dumped outside a building owned by a mosque.
The disgusting find was discovered by walkers outside the vacant Nash Mills Methodist Church in Barnacres Lane, Hemel Hempstead, on Friday morning.
The Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) support group has reported an increase in Islamophobia since the Manchester Arena bombing earlier last week.
The church has been empty for a decade but is owned by the Quwwatul Islam Mosque based on St Albans Hill.
Resident John Hall removed the head from outside the building.
He said: “It was a nasty thing to find. I’m not religious, but everyone should have the right to be religious without something like this happening.”
Terrence Collins, a Nash Mills parish councillor, said: “I know some parents were upset about their children seeing such a sight.”
Although no plans are yet in place for the empty building police said its location and ownership made it a hate crime.
Jhangeer Hussain, general secretary of the mosque, said: “Unfortunately there are people who will always want to do these kinds of things.
“All we can do is leave it in the hands of the police.
“There is sometimes a backlash, and that’s why the police are there and they can handle it accordingly.”
A police spokesman said: “Officers were called at 9.16am on Friday, May 26, to reports that a pig’s head had been discovered on the pavement in Barnacres Road.
“Due to the location in which it was found, the incident is currently being treated as a hate crime.
“Hertfordshire Constabulary takes reports of this nature very seriously. Call 101 if you can nelp.”