Devon

£5k raised for Polish family after 'race hate arson attack'

Just Giving Image copyright Just Giving
Image caption Hannah Brotherstone set up the page and increased the target from £2,500 to £5,000 after a "wonderful" response.

Donations to a fundraising page set up to support a Polish family subjected to a racially motivated arson attack at their home have passed £5,000.

The Just Giving page was set up after a fire was started in a shed at Ewa Banaszak's family home in Plymouth.

Police said the fire was started deliberately and a "hate-filled letter" containing threats was sent.

Hannah Brotherstone set up the page and increased the target from £2,500 to £5,000 after a "wonderful" response.

National Police Chiefs' Council figures show more than 3,000 hate crimes were reported to police from 16-30 June this year, a 42% increase on the same period in 2015.

'They are not alone'

Ms Brotherstone said: "We cannot undo this terrible crime, but we can show this family that they are welcome in Devon, that we care and that they are not alone.

"All funds raised by this page will be donated to the Banaszak family to use as they see fit."

She described the response to the page as "incredible" and it "just shows how much good will there is in the world."

Image copyright Ewa Banaszak
Image caption A "hate-filled" letter was sent to the family around the time the property was set on fire

The fire happened overnight on Wednesday in Efford in Plymouth.

Officers from Devon and Cornwall Police have since been carrying out forensic examinations of the fire scene and the letter.

On Friday, Michal Mazurek, head of the Consular Section of the Polish Embassy, visited Plymouth to meet with the Polish family.

Mr Mazurek said: "We were shocked by the hate crime attack on a Polish family in Plymouth.

"We are very concerned to see an escalation of the attacks from verbal abuse or graffiti to life-threatening crimes. We urge everyone who witnesses or falls victim of similar attacks to report immediately to the police."

Image caption Police officers believe the fire at the property in Efford, Plymouth, was started deliberately

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