THE COUNCIL has warned of the risk of coronavirus-related hate crime in Brighton.

The virus, which The World Health Organisation says is now accelerating faster in countries outside China, has sparked racist crimes in the UK.

One victim, a 24-year-old Thai man from London, was left stunned and bleeding with a broken nose when he was assaulted and robbed in Fulham. Two teenagers attacked City worker Pawat Silawattakun, shouting "coronavirus" as one stole his headphones and the other filmed on his phone.

In Brighton, The Argus reported on a coronavirus-related hate crime earlier this month. The incident followed five confirmed cases of the virus in the city.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “The victim, of Chinese heritage, reported that two people passing covered their noses and mouths as they walked by in Brighton on Wednesday February 12.”

In a written briefing to councillors yesterday, Brighton and Hove City Council said: "Some people and communities in the city are feeling particularly vulnerable.

"There have also been anecdotal reports of incidents of prejudice against some members of the community.

"Councillors are well placed to be a calm reassuring presence in their wards and to offer support. Instances of hate crime should be reported.

"The council’s community safety team works closely with the police and our local communities to prevent anti-social behaviour and hate incidents and support people affected.

"If you see a hate incident or need to let a resident know where to turn for help, our community safety team can support you and provide advice."

Sussex Police said it had not received any further reports of coronavirus-related hate crime.

You can contact Sussex Police on 101. The council also has an online anti-social behaviour and hate incident reporting form