BNP supporters were demonstrating outside Burnley police station today after its members were arrested on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred in Lancashire.

Four men were held this morning after a police investigation over the distribution of leaflets branding Muslims responsible for the heroin trade.

A 41-year-old man from Burnley, a 43 year-old man from Blackburn, a 53-year-old man from Preston and a 57-year-old man from Nelson were all arrested today.

They were questioned by detectives at Burnley Police Station during the course of the day on suspicion of the publication and distribution of written material intended to stir up racial hatred and the possession of racially inflammatory material.

They were released this afternoon and bailed until February.

Police would not say if the four were BNP members but the party said two were members in the local area.

Nick Griffin, leader of the far-right party, is visiting the town today to protest outside Burnley Police station at the “persecution” of its members arrested after “Gestapo-like dawn raids” by police.

Each of the leaflets features a harrowing photo of Rachel Whitear, 21, who was found dead at her flat in Exmouth, Devon, in May 2000, holding a syringe.

The photo of Rachel made national headlines after her parents agreed for it to be released to warn other youngsters of the dangers of drugs.

Rachel’s mother, Pauline Holcroft, 58, of Ledbury, Herefordshire, later said the leaflets were “insulting and offensive”.

The leaflet was distributed to homes in Burnley, Pendle and Preston and is also reportedly circulating in other parts of Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire.

It says people should “heap condemnation” on Muslims and that it is time for them to “apologise” as it claims they are responsible for 95% of the world’s heroin trade.

The leaflets, which first appeared around March, were first distributed by a former BNP candidate, according to the party’s website.