A TEACHER and mother of four has spoken out after she and her family were racially abused in York.

Janet Malik-Aziz, a teacher from Bradford, was visiting York with her family to watch her son play cricket, when she and her children were verbally abused in the street.

Mrs Malik-Aziz is of English and Pakistani descent and wears a hijaab, or headscarf, and used to live in York. She said she had never experienced anything like the incident, which happened in Clifton last weekend, on Sunday afternoon.

She said: "We were just coming back from the shop. I was in front and the children were behind and I saw these two young men, between 18 and 24, carrying alcohol bottles. They looked at me and didn't say anything but as they passed I heard them say something to the children behind me.

"My 14-year-old Mikaeel was very red and I asked what they had said. He told me they'd said 'go back to your ******* own country'. That's when the youth turned back round and started verbally abusing me, asking if I had a problem, what I was looking at and started walking back towards me."

The youth continued to use bad language towards Mrs Malik-Aziz, and said if her husband had been present "they would knock him out". Mrs Malik-Aziz walked away, but said she was shocked by the incident.

She said: "I'm disappointed in a way. I just never expected to be verbally abused like that on the streets of York. With the Tour de France coming it's quite shocking something like that is happening.

"It was just unprovoked. We were there to enjoy the day. It's quite sad and shocking. You have to forgive; they are just a minority, I know that, and you can't let something like this put you off. It's something I want to show my children - I want them to see the incident is serious and police take it seriously, and are looking at CCTV to see if they can identify the youths. It's important for them to know they do not have to be victims."

PC Catherine Midgely, of York Police, said: "Racist abuse is abhorrent and not something we will tolerate.

"This is a particularly nasty case as the abuse was directed at children who were with their mother. It naturally left the family feeling distressed and upset. If you have any information which could help to identify the men responsible for this incident, I urge you to contact the police straight away."