RACISTS were blamed for hanging an animal skin outside a derelict pub, but it was there in the name of art.

Police were called to the Nelson hotel, in North Road, Westcliff, to investigate as the defunct pub is just yards away from a mosque.

However, it turned out the goat’s skin, carefully attached to the public house’s signpost, was part of an exhibition based in the old Anglian Water building also in North Road.

The old pub has been bought by the former chairman of the mosque, Mohammed Msham- suddin, who intends to turn it into flats.

It was at first feared the substance was made of pig skin and designed to be a warning message to Mr Mshamsuddin.

However, the goat’s skin art was created by Katy Surridge, from Bermondsey, and was based on discarded materials, many of which she had collected during a trip to Morocco.

An Essex Police spokeswoman confirmed they had initially taken concerns very seriously, but soon realised there was no ill intent.

She said: “It was purely coincidence it happened so near to a mosque. It wasn’t intended to cause alarm. It was part of an art exhibition.”

Miss Surridge, 26, said the skin had been put there as it was an advertisement for the exhibition and had been hung where a pub sign would be.

She added: “We resolved it between us, Mr Mshamsuddin came in and we took it down.”