An Asian family from Borehamwood have been left terrorised and afraid to leave their own home after two years of racially movitated physical and verbal attacks.

Suresh and Hansa Patel, both 60, from Ripon Way, have had bricks thrown through their bedroom window while they were sleeping. Their cars have been vandalised on eight different occasions and Mr Patel is now deaf in one ear after an attack outside their home last year.

Last week, a spark plug was thrown into their daughter's car when it was parked outside the house narrowly missing their grand-daughter on the back seat.

"It's got so bad, we don't know what to do," said Mrs Patel.

"I have a bad back and need to exercise every day but can't even go out of the house for a walk in fear of being attacked.

"They call me Paki' and tell me to go home to my own country. Last week, a group of eight youths attacked me on my way home from the shops. I feel like a prisoner in my own home."

Mr Patel, a senior parks officer for Barnet Council, added: "It's got worse since the bombings in London. They attack us because of our colour. We are friendly people and have a good relationship with all our neighbours. We would never set out to cause hurt or pain to anyone.

"This has to stop we just can't live like this any longer."

Hertsmere's hate crimes officer, PC Lynne Da Silva, said: "I am aware of these offences and of the reports made by the Patel family, and I would like to assure them that we are taking them very seriously.

"Police officers attended to investigate.

"One of my colleagues in the hate crimes unit has already written to the family and I have also been in contact with them to arrange a visit. The police and the courts take issues of hate crime very seriously and offenders should know that the penalty is much more severe if their crimes have been targeted at someone because of their race or religion."

If you have been affected by hate crime, you can call PC Da Silva directly on 01727 796620.