A shocking number of crimes against people with red or ginger hair have been recorded across West Yorkshire.
Figures released under Freedom of Information legislation revealed there were 46 incidents in the last 27 months where having ginger hair was a factor in the offence.
Across Kirklees, seven offences of violence were recorded and a further five were recorded as public order offences.
The most recent offence in Kirklees was recorded last month.
The figures represented incidents where the crime notes contained either ‘ginger’, ‘ginner’ or ‘ginga’ and hair colour was a factor in the offence, the Force noted.
There were six recorded offences in 2014, 24 last year and 16 so far this year. Some of the crimes are still being investigated, while others remain unsolved due to lack of evidence.
Redheads living in Huddersfield said they had learned to live with the abuse.
Steve Dyson, 49, of Lowerhouses , has taught his son Alex, 10, to ignore name-calling.
“In my teens I just learned to ignore it,” said Steve, who attended Rawthorpe High School.
“I was called Duracell and gingernut and that sort of stuff. There was no violence, just names.”
“My son is a redhead and he’s had it (name-calling) for a few years now, pretty much from when he started at school. We just put it down to kids not knowing any better. They called him carrot head and gingerbread.”
Although Alex was upset at first, he has learned to ignore it, according to his dad.
Steve says he “feels sorry” for those who single out redheads for abuse.
He branded those who called him names in the 1970s and 1980s as "prejudiced idiots", adding. "I just don’t know where it stems from.”
Another victim, who asked not to be named, suffered abuse at school in Huddersfield. He said: “It was a chapter in my life that wasn’t pleasant and was pretty bad at times.”
Ginger-haired David*, who is in his 30s, was verbally abused and bullied while at school
“It wasn’t too bad at junior school apart from a few comments now and again but high school was pretty tough.
“ I was a quiet and shy lad but this made me vulnerable to the mickey takers who used to make fun of me just for cheap laughs.
“Every name I was called had the word “ginger” before it and going through puberty was the worst as I’d be asked personal questions in front of a full class again for cheap laughs and this affected my participation in physical education.
“Girls were just as bad with the verbal abuse and could be really venomous with their words, worse than the lads really.
“I’ve had people take an instant dislike to me just because I had ginger hair and made it clear, sometimes threatening, for example, I remember going with a mate to meet one of his friends and this friend basically told me if I didn’t get lost I’d be beaten up . It affected my confidence and in the end, it had an impact on my education.
“I don’t remember being physically attacked for being ginger but I can say a few times I was goaded to get a physical reaction just because of my hair colour. “
A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “Any incidents motivated by hostility and prejudice are unacceptable and are taken very seriously by West Yorkshire Police.
“There are currently five strands of hate crime - Disability, Faith, Race, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity which are monitored by the Home Office. We have not introduced any additional strands outside of these but it is accepted that incidents motivated by hostility and prejudice towards individuals/groups because of a perceived ‘difference’ can and do happen and we are able to record these on our systems so that any trends can be monitored locally.”
* He has asked us to change his name as he still finds it difficult to deal with the trauma.