RELIGIOUS preachers have posted “hate mail” through the letterboxes of homes in Basildon.

Furious residents criticised what appeared to be fundamentalist Christian literature which suggested links between the LGBT community, being evil and destruction.

The leaflet, using the internationally recognised LGBT Rainbow flag on the front, and states “what comes after pride”.

On the back is a passage about the problems with being proud.

Combined with the use of the flag and following a number of Pride marches and festivals it is being treated as a hate crime by police.

The leaflets, believed to be from a group called Xpand Christianity, do not mention the LGBTQ+ community directly but critics claim the symbolism is clear.

Councillor David Burton-Sampson, deputy Labour leader at Basildon Council, expressed his disgust at the actions of the “extremists”.

He said: “These are extreme views.

“There was one that mentions famous people with a connection to Soho, a popular LGBT place for clubs and venue, such as Freddie Mercury.

“I think the fact these have been put in doors is appalling.

“People are entitled to have opinions but this is targeting a group of people.

“It has a clear intention which is unacceptable.

“It’s excluding people from society and marginalising them.

“These are not the views of churches or church leaders.”

Justin Kelly, 48, of Gloucester Park Estate, Basildon got a flyer. He said: “The contents of these leaflets is disgraceful and are not welcome in our society.

“Whoever created and distributed them should have a rethink on their moral values.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “At the moment it is being treated as a hate incident. We received a report on Sunday, August 19 that leaflets with offensive messages on had been delivered to addresses. It is believed they were delivered on August 17.”

Call 101 with information quoting 42/119955/18