Stickers allegedly from a white supremacist group that have been placed around St Helens are being investigated as a “racially aggravated hate crime”.
The force received a report in relation to the stickers earlier this month after they were spotted in Earlestown Bus Station.
And over the weekend more stickers were spotted by Newton councillor Jeanie Bell, who warned residents the far-right group, the Hundred-Handers, were active in Earlestown.
The Hundred-Handers are an anonymous white supremacist group that spreads far-right propaganda across Europe and the USA.
Stickers from the online group have been found in public places featuring captions like “it’s okay to be white” and “this is our land”. Other stickers feature anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic messages.
Until recently, the Hundred-Handers were active on Twitter and had amassed thousands of followers, but its account is currently suspended for violating the social media platform’s rules.
Recent activity from the group in the UK has been reported in Hull, Sunderland, Edinburgh, York and it now appears they are active in St Helens.
Community Policing Inspector Matt Drennan said: “We are aware of reports in relation to these stickers being seen in Earlestown.
“A report was received on Thursday, February 6 of these stickers being seen at Earlestown Bus Station.
“This is being investigated as a racially-aggravated hate crime and we welcome any information.
“We know that such views do not reflect the wider community and we will be working with Cllr Jeanie Bell and the community on this issue.
“These stickers are clearly unacceptable and we will ensure they are investigated thoroughly.”
The sticker found by Cllr Bell, St Helens Council’s cabinet member for community safety, featured the Hundred-Handers logo and said “No 2 Halal” – an anti-Islamic message it has spread elsewhere.
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Cllr Bell said far-right groups should “not be allowed to flourish in our community”.
“The stickers found in Earlestown this weekend are being distributed by a known far-right group,” Cllr Bell said.
“The issue is the group itself. Far-right groups should not be allowed to flourish in our community.
“I will always support legitimate, well-established animal welfare charities and organisations, not hate groups who seek to cause division and promote a racist agenda,” Cllr Bell said.
“St Helens is no place for hate.”
It is not the first time Earlestown has been targeted by the far-right.
In March 2019, racist material allegedly from a US-based white supremacist group was delivered to homes in Earlestown and Newton-le-Willows.
Merseyside Police was alerted by the council leader at the time, Derek Long, who called the contents of the leaflet “abhorrent”.
Following the latest reports of far-right activity in the area, Insp Drennan said: “There is no place in our society for hate crime so I would urge anyone in the community who has any information to contact our social media desk @MerPolCC, 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with reference 20000080579 and we’ll take action.”
Residents who spot any of these stickers around Newton-le-Willows or the wider area have also been advised to inform the St Helens Council.
A council spokesman said: “Any resident who spots one of these stickers should report it to us through our St Helens Council App available on iPhones and Android phones, report online at www.sthelens.gov.uk or call the Contact Centre on 01744 676789 and include location information to let our environmental services team remove the items and make our partners at Merseyside Police aware of any reports.”