POLICE say they will 'not tolerate action that is hateful' after being made aware of 'threatening’ anti-asylum seeker letters sent to councillors and businesses.

As reported, the letters sent through the post have come from a far-right group and are related to the Bibby Stockholm barge at Portland Port.

The Dorset Echo understands they contain 'threats to damage property and intimidate people' who are linked to the barge and support asylum seekers.

In a statement, Dorset Police said that it is aware of the letters circulating and that they suggest certain people and businesses who support the new arrivals 'could be targeted'.

Local Policing Commander Chief Superintendent Richard Bell said: “We have been made aware of a small number of threatening letters that have been sent to local businesses.

“The content of the letters appears to be linked to the planned use of the Bibby Stockholm to house asylum seekers at Portland Port.

“The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made at this time. If you receive such a letter, please contact Dorset Police quoting reference 55230171721.

“We understand everyone will have a different viewpoint and opinion on the housing of asylum seekers in our communities, but we will not tolerate action that is hateful or intended to put others in fear of going about their day to day business.

“Dorset Police will continue to take a proportionate approach to the policing of protest and I would like to thank those who have been peacefully and safely protesting for their engagement with officers and staff.

“We will continue to work hard with partners to keep our communities informed and engaged as we prepare to welcome the first group boarding the barge.”

Members of Weymouth and Portland town councils have been advised to hand the letters over to the police if they receive them.

South Dorset MP Richard Drax told the Dorset Echo he was 'shocked' by the letters.

He said: "It is completely unreasonable. About 99.9% of councillors are against (the barge) but the fact is that it is here and we can't ignore it, we need to ensure it does work."

The Home Office says that the Bibby Stockholm is expected to welcome the first asylum seekers next week, although a specific day has not been confirmed.