Arrests have been made after anti-gay leaflets were distributed in Newcastle over the weekend.
Two men aged 60 and 52 were arrested on public order offences on Sunday (23 June) after police were called to reports of abusive behaviour near Grey's Monument in the city centre, the Northern Echo reports.
According to reports, the men were shouting homophobic slurs and handing out anti-gay leaflets.
Northumbria Police Chief Inspector Gary Dickson confirmed that the incident is being treated as a hate crime.
"An investigation into the behaviour of these two men is ongoing but at this time it is being treated as a hate crime," he said.
"We work closely with our LGBT communities and will not tolerate hateful abuse that targets individuals because of who they are.
"I want to thank those who reported this to police and want to make it clear to all of our communities in Northumbria that being you is not a crime.
"If you have been the victim of a hate crime then we would ask you to report it in confidence by calling 101 or reporting it on our website."