POLICE have spoken out to reassure residents after councillors claimed there had been a number of racist attacks on white residents.

Nelson and Brierfield councillors have called for a crisis meeting with police after claiming there had been a spate of racist attacks by Asian youths.

But police said there had only been three reported incidents in the past four to six weeks in Nelson and Brierfield, and that only one was being treated as a racist crime.

Officers said there was a racist attack on a teenager who was collecting money for charity in the Cloverhill area of Nelson.

Four men have been arrested in connection with that incident.

Officers said two attempted car jackings on pensioners' vehicles, which took place 20 minutes apart in Cuckstool Lane and Halifax Road on April 2, were not being treated as racist incidents.

A racist incident is where the motivation for the crime is race.

Inspector Russ Procter said: "There have been incidents where Asian offenders have targeted white persons, but I would say that not all these offences are race related.

"But we want to reassure residents that there are no specific Asian gangs going round attacking people that we know about. All the incidents have been isolated."

Labour councillor Asjad Mahmood said: "I'm deeply shocked and appalled by what seem to be racist attacks on white residents in Nelson and Brierfield.

"Enough is enough and I want the police to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to this issue." Coun Mohammed Iqbal clai-med: "A few Asian lads have been going around attacking property of residents who are white.

"Windows have been broken by people throwing stones.

"This has been happening for the past four to six weeks and it is becoming quite bad."

Inspector Procter said they were investigating Coun Iqbal's claims and were due to meet him to discuss them.

He added: "All violent crime offences in the area are thoroughly investigated and we have again seen a reduction in violent crime within Nelson this year."