A 12-year-old had a rock thrown at his head after being taunted about being transgender.

The youngster, who was described as a pre-operative transgender now living as a boy, was walking home from school when he was approached by three boys.

One of the boys started laughing at the victim and questioning his gender before another threw a rock which hit the victim on the head causing a large cut to his head requiring hospital treatment.

The case, which happened in Wiltshire, resulted in the attacker receiving a six-month referral order, a type of supervision order, after pleading guilty to a charge of actual bodily harm.

Details were revealed as figures were released today showing a rise in the number of prosecutions for hate crime in the south.

Prosecutions for hate crimes rose by nine per cent during 2015 to 16, seeing 56 more cases taken to court across the Crown Prosecution Service region of Wessex which covers Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire.

Convictions in Wessex also increased by 2.8 per cent compared to the previous year. In addition Wessex saw the highest percentage of increases to sentences to reflect the hostility element of the offending nationally.

Following the publication of the CPS Hate Crime Report for 2014 – 2016, Steve Hoolohan, deputy chief crown prosecutor and senior hate crime lead for the CPS Wessex said: “Hate crime is driven by prejudice and hostility based upon a person's race, gender, sexuality, religion, age or disability. It affects not only victims but also communities, creating an atmosphere of fear and distress. It is important that communities understand we treat hate crime very seriously and I would like to thank those victims that have come forward and reported such incidents and encourage those who have not to report incidents to the police, knowing that the CPS will do all it can to support them and bring offenders to justice.

Of the 672 prosecutions across Wessex 86.6 per cent have resulted in a conviction, with 90.8 per cent (528 defendants) of defendants pleading guilty, removing the need for their victim to give evidence in court.