Police are investigating after vandals smashed windows and daubed walls and road signs with racist graffiti.
Offensive messages claiming to support the British National Party were painted on the outside wall of the home of Howard and Barbara Oakes in Newcastle Street in Burslem. Two days later, while they were away on holiday, someone tried to smash their front window before scrawling racist messages on the glass.
The couple returned to find the windows of a neighbouring shop, Kwik Communications, had been broken and more graffiti had been painted on road signs at Trubshaw Cross roundabout.
Stoke-on-Trent's BNP group has condemned those responsible and urged the culprits to stop carrying out vandalism in the party's name.
Mrs Oakes, aged 56, said: "Last Wednesday my husband went out to work at 6.30am and saw the graffiti on the wall. We tried to clean it off but we couldn't, so we painted over it. I haven't been well so we went away for a few days and on Friday my friend called to say someone had tried to put our window through and there was more graffiti on the window."
On Monday, when Mrs Oakes had returned home, she reported the incident to the police and Stoke-on-Trent City Council. She also contacted the city council's BNP group to tell them what had happened, and they were quick to condemn those responsible.
Group leader councillor Alby Walker said he hoped the vandals were brought to justice.
"This is nothing to do with the BNP, it's just idiots latching on to our name and I would urge them to stop," he said. "No bona fide member of the BNP would contemplate this behaviour. I hope the police catch whoever is responsible and throw the book at them."
Owner of Kwik Communications, Ishfaq Shar, aged 50, said: "I came in to work and found the windows smashed – it was upsetting to arrive and have that damage. I saw the graffiti, it was very bad."
Mr and Mrs Oakes moved into their property 20 years ago, when it was a fish and chip shop. They closed the shop in 2000 due to a downturn in business, but continued to live there.
Mrs Oakes said: "I don't know why they have done this to our house, I think we might've got caught up in something by mistake. We've been here for 20 years and I've never seen anything like this before. I hope it's just a one-off. I believe people should live and let live – we were all put on this earth for a reason and we should be able to live together."
Following the incident, council workers boarded up the damaged windows and are in the process of removing the last of the graffiti.
Councillor Mohammed Pervez, city council portfolio holder for community engagement and equalities, said: "We condemn any type of racist graffiti in the city and we always work closely with the police and our neighbourhood management teams to ensure anything like this is removed quickly. The council continues to remain vigilant against activities of this kind and would encourage anyone who sees any examples of this to contact the police or ourselves as quickly as possible."
Staffordshire Police have confirmed they are investigating the vandalism. Inspector Martin Brereton said: "We are treating this incident as a hate crime. We do not accept this kind of behaviour in the city. Anyone with information on the graffiti or criminal damage is asked to contact Staffordshire Police."
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the police on 0300 123 4455.