The severed head of a pig was found tied to the gates of an Islamic school in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Police said the head was placed at the entrance of Madani Academy.

It had on its forehead a symbol of the swastika and an "offensive" message on Allah, according to The Portsmouth News. Police are investigating the incident as a "hate crime" as pork is prohibited in Islam.

The incident occurred between 5.40pm and 6pm on 20 January, but was discovered around 8.30am the next day. Superintendent of Hampshire Police, Will Schofield, said that investigations were at an early stage and the case was being considered as an isolated incident. "I would urge anyone with any information about this incident to come forward as soon as possible," he stressed.

"We will not tolerate such incidents in Portsmouth that seek to damage the good relations we have with all sections of our diverse community," the superintendent added.

The school's website reads it is "the first independent Islamic faith school in Portsmouth", which opened in 2014 and currently teaches primary school children aged five to eight-years-old in Years 1-4. Luthfur Rahman, director and head teacher at the school, said he was upset by the incident. "We've always found Portsmouth to be a very welcoming city and we hope this does not damage the good relationship that we have with the local community."

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond termed the incident as "deeply insulting" and said it has upset children, parents and staff at the school. "It is completely unacceptable behaviour in a civilised society and it does not reflect the views of the vast majority of Portsmouth residents, who I'm sure are as equally appalled as I am," the MP said.

"I hope the police find the culprit as soon as possible, and I ask anyone who might know something about this to call officers as soon as possible," she added.