...By Solomon Thomas for TDPel Media.
Essex Police have started a criminal investigation into the White Harts Inn in Grays, Essex, after it was vandalised and had its windows smashed in the early hours of Sunday.
The pub and its owners came to public attention when police seized a collection of golliwog dolls on 4 April as part of an investigation into an alleged hate crime.
The dolls are seen as a racist caricature of black people.
Some graffiti was also reported on the premises.
The alleged hate crime may be linked to the Sunday attack, though police say this is just “one line of enquiry” that they are following up.
Replacement collection of golliwog dolls displayed at pub
Despite the racist history of the dolls, the pub’s landlady Benice Ryley has brought together a replacement collection of them.
She intends to put up a notice stating, “We’ve got gollies on display, if you find this offensive please don’t come in”, and says that supporters have sent her more dolls in recent days.
The couple who run the pub, Christopher and Benice Ryley, have previously denied being racist.
However, Christopher was photographed wearing a T-shirt from far-right group Britain First.
Police request public help
Essex Police have requested that members of the public with any information about the vandalism should come forward.
The force has not made any arrests regarding the hate crime allegation, but will interview licensee Christopher Ryley next month when he returns from a holiday in Turkey.