THE number of disability-related hate crimes in Lancashire has seen a steady increase over the past five years.

The number has almost doubled, from 57 in 2010, to 109 in 2013.

In the month of January 2010 just one such crime was recorded, whereas that number had jumped to 12 by January 2014.

However, the increase could be down to increased reporting and recording of hate crime, rather than an actual increase in these types of crime.

Speaking about a similar rise in racially-motivated crime in Lancashire, Sylvia Lancaster, founder of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which encourages victims to report hate crimes to police, said: “I think it’s a good thing, more people are recognising what a hate crime actually is. And when crimes are reported police have a better picture and are seeing them as hate crimes, and that’s got to be a positive step.”