Gay Conservative Party candidate Nick King had some of his election posters defaced with homophobic slurs.

Mr King, standing for Mid Dorset and North Poole, lost by only a few hundred votes to Liberal Democrat incumbent Annette Brooke.

Between 60 and 70 ‘Vote Nick King’ and ‘Vote Conservative’ boards outside Tory supporters’ homes were damaged during his campaign.

The boards cost almost £1,000 in total. They were daubed with graffiti, damaged or stolen.

Mr King told the Bournemouth Echo that on several occasions, Labour and Liberal Democrat boards had been placed in his garden.

He added that the perpetrators had taunted him from an anonymous Gmail account.

Mr King said: “You expect it to happen a little bit. But this has been quite orchestrated to the extent that, down a road where there are three or four of our boards and three or four opposition boards, all our boards will be slashed with a knife or have stuff written all over them, while the others are not touched. That suggests something quite deliberate.”

He added: “There has been some homophobic insults – but mostly just rudeness really.”

Mr King did not mention his opponents but said some homeowners, including a widow in her 70s, had been targeted multiple times and people were becoming frightened.