ANTI-RACISM campaigners in Barrow have gathered to condemn the former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.

Councillors and activists have accused Mr Robinson of ‘exploiting’ tensions in the town amid allegations of the physical and sexual abuse of a teenage girl at the hands of an Asian grooming gang.

The controversial activist attended a mass show of support for the woman in Hollywood Park last week and rumours on social media suggest he will visit again today.

Campaigners from Unite Against Fascism yesterday gathered in Barrow town centre to hold up signs calling for ‘Justice for the victims - no to racism and fascism’.

The group is calling for people to sign a Barrow Unity Statement which condemns sexual exploitation and accuses Mr Robinson - whose real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon - of stirring ‘racial hatred’ to ‘divide the community’.

Paul Jenkins of Unite Against Fascism said: “It is disgraceful that ‘Robinson’ is trying to trying to exploit a sensitive local issue in order to try and whip up racism.

“Terrible crimes must be condemned but these have nothing to do with race or religion.

“The people of Barrow have a proud anti-racist and anti-fascist tradition, including seeing off the BNP and seeing off ‘Robinson’ in his failed attempt to become an MEP at last year’s European Elections.

“Please add your name to the Barrow Unity statement.”

The unity statement said: “We, the undersigned, oppose attempts by the fascist ‘Tommy Robinson’ - real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon - to exploit a sensitive, local issue, in order to try and stir up racial hatred and to attempt to divide our community.

“Our thoughts are with the family concerned, and it is to their enormous credit that the family do not want Robinson’s involvement, and that they condemn any form of racial hatred.”

It ends: “We are proud of our multicultural community. We condemn anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all forms of racial hatred.

"We will not be divided by racists and fascists.”