Police in Leicester are treating a series of attacks on a bar popular with gay people as hate crimes.

The Leicester Mercury reports that a gang of young men armed with hammers and baseball bats smashed windows and verbally abused customers at the Amber bar in Northampton Street last Friday night.

The bar is popular with gay and lesbian people, and is in the same area as the city’s only gay club, The Rainbow Dove.

The Amber opened last year, and for the last three months has been a focus for vandals. Replacing smashed windows has cost £6,000.

The licensee of the Amber, Steve Armson, told The Mercury, “We’ve never had any trouble or had to call the police until recently, but we’ve now had our windows smashed six times in three months and staff and customers have been taunted and called names.

“We’re a mixed bar. We have never said we are a gay venue, so it’s very strange they are targeting us.”

So far police have arrested three people. David Graham, manager of the Leicester Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Centre, said that as far as he is aware there had not been an increase in homophobic incidents in the city.