COMMUNITY leaders and MPs across Hampshire have appealed for calm and tolerance after reports of racist abuse in the wake of the Brexit result.

Up to a dozen residents from Asian and Polish communities in Southampton have reported being abused in the past few days.

Elsewhere in Hampshire, BBC journalist Sima Kotecha says she was verbally abused in her hometown of Basingstoke.

Police are investigating an attack in Salisbury on a Polish woman who suffered face injuries after she was set upon by at least two men in an alleyway in an assault that may be linked to her nationality.

Senior politicians from both the Leave and Remain camps have united to condemn the abuse and have urged the police to take tough action to tackle it.

Hampshire Constabulary says it has not recorded a spike in hate crime in the past few days, but encouraged any victims to contact the force.

Southampton's communities chief Cllr Satvir Kaur said she had received reports of abuse aimed at members of ethnic minority communities in Southampton since Thursday's referendum, in which the UK voted to leave the EU.

She said an Asian businessman was approached at the Shell petrol station in Thomas Lewis Way by a man who said: "Haven't you heard we voted leave? Now can you get out of our country."

She added that a Polish nurse was walking on Shirley Road when a man told her: "It's time you packed your bags."

The National Police Chiefs Council has reported a 57 per cent rise in reports of hate crime to its online hate crime reporting site True Vision in the past month.

Cllr Kaur said: "I am horrified if this is now post-Brexit Southampton because it definitely doesn't represent the city I was born and grew up in.

"Southampton is a very diverse city and it is built on its immigrant history, we have communities that enrich our city.

"Any incidents, however small or big, people need to look out for them, call them out for what they are and report them to the police."

Council leader Cllr Simon Letts echoed her sentiments, saying he "urged that we remain calm".

Conservative Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith, a Leave campaigner, said: "Firstly people that come to settle in this country are welcome by most of us, they enrich our country and culture and they work hard.

"For these ignorant people that think that leaving the undemocratic structures of the EU gives them some right to make a pejorative comment to people who have come to settle here, there is no excuse for that and I hope if this has happened the police come down on them like a ton of bricks and nip it in the bud."

Hampshire County Council's executive member for communities, Andrew Joy, said: "As a country we have always had a tolerant and accommodating attitude.

"There is absolutely no place in our society for xenophobia.

"As far as I am concerned eastern Europeans came to our aid in the Second World Ward and significant numbers paid with their lives or injuries, then integrating in our society."

Eastleigh MP Mims Davies, who voted for Brexit, said the UK was a "welcoming and diverse" country, said: "These hateful messages should be confronted at every turn and, thankfully, it's only a tiny minority who think this way here in Hampshire.

"The referendum debate was always clear: we want to have more control over our borders, it never was a vote to remove those who have come from abroad; it was a vote to have the ability to limit numbers from when we leave the EU."

Barbara Storey, from SOS Polonia, a help and advice service for migrants in Southampton, said she had not received any reports of similar abuse, and said the organisation would hold workshops and offer support to members of the Polish community in the wake of the referendum.

She said: "We tell Polish people not to worry, go to work, try hard to integrate and be part of the United Kingdom.

"Everybody in the country is worried because no-one really knows what is happening, and there has been abuse between Brexit and Remain people."

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said: "We will continue to be visible and accessible so that if someone feels that they have been a victim of a hate crime they know they can talk to us.

"We would urge anyone who has been victim of a hate crime to contact us on 101."