A St Neots family has been left feeling “violated” and “frightened to leave home” after discovering racist abuse - including use of the N-word - on their cars.

Offensive language and other racist references were scratched into the paintwork and windows of three vehicles, one of which contained child seats, outside a property in

Maule Close, Eynesbury, between 7pm on September 30 and 8am the following day.

Victoria Usher, 42, and husband Alex, only discovered the abuse after dropping their two children, aged six and seven, off at a play date and so had unwittingly driven around with the words in full view.

“I am of mixed race and I have never experienced anything like this in St Neots, it is disgraceful and we feel like we have been singled out and targeted by someone living here,” said Victoria.

“We have been violated in our own street and now feel unable to walk up the road.”

On the morning of October 1, the couple dropped their children off at a friend's house and then took their dog for a walk and it was only when they returned to the car to pick the children up that they noticed the damage.

A vehicle, belonging to Victoria's step-son, was damaged with the most offensive racist abuse, her husband's car was scratched with the C-word and, the bodywork and windows on Victoria's car had deep scratches.

“I just couldn't believe it and still find it shocking,” Victoria explained.

“We had to go out later to do some shopping and I felt like I didn't want to leave the house. My children have said it feels like our home has been invaded. And that's the saddest thing, the children have both seen it and have to walk past it. We tried to buffer it out, but the scratches are so deep we will have to get a professional paint job to cover it up.”

The incident comes in the week that Cambridgeshire police have released figures that show a reduction in hate crime across the region (see Page 10).

Asked to comment on the incident in Maule Close, a police spokesman said: “We take all incidents of this nature extremely seriously and we want to make it clear that hate crime of this nature is not welcome in Cambridgeshire. We would urge anyone with information about this incident to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or through their anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.”