A Labour councillor has described the moment he was allegedly called a “foreign parasite” when a man hurled racist abuse at him and his family as he walked along Lewisham High Street.

Damien Egan, a councillor for Lewisham Central since 2010, has spoken out about the alleged incident in the hope of urging other victims to report racial abuse.

The 34-year-old said he had been enjoying People’s Day in Catford with his mum and younger sisters early on Saturday evening when a man began shouting at them as they made their way home via the high street.

He told News Shopper: “He said we were foreign parasites, told us to get out of the country and that we should and would be killed.

“We immediately went to walk away and obviously I was worried about my family's safety, he started following us up the street shouting.”

Cllr Egan said once he was a safe distance away, he called the police.

He added: “We were shocked something like that could happen in broad daylight.

“While we’re lucky we were all together you immediately think about what could happen if someone was targeted who was walking on their own, they’d be a lot more vulnerable.”

Nationally there has been a spike in the number of reported hate crimes after the referendum vote which saw Britain leave the EU.

In the week before and after the last month’s vote there were 3,000 allegations of hate crime reported to police across Britain – an increase of 42 per cent.

Cllr Egan, who has lived in Lewisham for the past 10 years, said he fears the vote has made the minority of people with extreme views “feel that somehow they’ve been legitimised”.

He said: “I think we can’t forget that for sections of our community this has always been there but there does seem to have been a spike of incidents in recent weeks.”

After the incident, Cllr Egan took to social media where his account of what happened was met with hundreds of messages of support which he said shows the “real Lewisham”.

“This incident is simply stupid on so many levels,” he said. “We’re a mixed vibrant community made up of people from all over the world and that’s our great strength and what makes Lewisham such a fantastic place to live.

“But we mustn’t forget that we are one community and sometimes have to stand up for each other.”

He now plans to speak to other councillors about what can be done over the summer months to bring Lewisham together and encourage others to feel safe in the borough.