BASILDON’S mayor was subjected to racist chants as he raised the rainbow flag to celebrate Essex Pride weekend.

David Burton-Sampson, who was elected as mayor in May, was raising the flag in front of Basildon Council’s offices in St Martin’s Square on Friday in the run up to Essex Pride taking place in Chelmsford on Saturday.

However, it was not until the council team were editing video footage of the event that they realised people were chanting racist slurs at Mr Burton Sampson.

He said: “I didn’t actually hear it at the time, I was focussed on raising the flag.

“It was when the communications team was editing the video that they could hear the chants of some quite nasty racist comments that they were shouting at me.

“I have quite a thick skin, it is what it is, but it’s just not acceptable in our society.

“Its really upset some members of our team in the council and some members of the public as well.

“For someone to be chanting this sort of thing at anyone in society, let alone a mayor trying to raise a flag about acceptance, equality and unity is absolutely disgraceful.

“It should be made clear that all of us at Basildon Council completely condemn this kind of behaviour.”

Mr Burton-Sampson said the council have referred the incident to Essex Police as a hate crime.

Basildon Council uploaded the video of the raising of the flag without sound so the chants could not be heard.

Gavin Callaghan, leader of the council, also slammed the men responsible.

He said: “Let’s be clear, hurling racist abuse at our mayor is totally unacceptable and we have reported this to the police.

“But just a spoiler to the bigot who did it; you might not know Councillor Burton-Sampson, but I do, and it won’t work, he isn’t going to be deterred by a stone-cold loser like you.”

Jeff Henry, councillor for Laindon Park, told Mr Burton-Sampson on Twitter: “That’s absolutely outrageous. I’m sorry you had to go through that. I thought we’d left that kind of behaviour and thinking behind. Well done for flying the flag.”