THE parents of a heroin overdose victim have condemned a British National Party-backed leaflet blaming Muslims for the drugs trade.

The publishers of a controversial flyer, claiming Muslims were responsible for fostering the heroin market in the UK, are being investigated by police on suspicion of inciting racial hatred.

Hundreds of homes in Burnley, Pendle and Preston received the leaflets, which have been condemned by political leaders in Lancashire.

Now the parents of Rachel Whitear, who died in Devon from a heroin overdose in 2000, have condemned the BNP for using a picture of their dead daughter on the leaflet.

Her mother Pauline Holcroft approved the use of the image, which shows Rachel's corpse slumped with a syringe in her hand, as part of posters for hard-hitting anti-drugs initiatives.

But she has confirmed that she was never asked for permission to use the picture in connection with the BNP leaflet, which was produced by Preston lecturer Tony Bamber, and backed by party members John Rowe and Brian Norton Parker.

Mrs Holcroft, from Ledbury, Hertfordshire, said: "I was truly horrified when I saw what they'd done with it.

"Even if one of the main political parties had asked us if they could use it in a campaign I think we would have to say no.

"For the BNP to use it without even seeking our permission is an insult to my daughter's memory."

Lancashire Police's hate crimes unit was called in to investigate the leaflet, after receiving a number of complaints, and a file has now been passed to the Crown Prosecution for consideration over possible charges.

Opposition councillors in Pendle have called for Coun Brian Norton Parker, who represents Marsden ward for the BNP, to quit.

But Coun Parker, and Mr Rowe, of Cowper Street, Burnley, who unsuccessfully stood for the BNP in Rosegrove ward at the last borough elections, have defended their stance, saying they wanted to highlight the menace of the heroin trade locally.