BRITISH National Party leader Nick Griffin led a demonstration outside Bolton Crown Court yesterday in response to a high-profile case involving an alleged child prostitution ring.

The controversial politician, who was joined by about 30 BNP activists, spoke to the assembled crowd on a megaphone as his supporters waved placards and handed out leaflets.

A BNP trailer blaring out the theme from Dam Busters was also being driven around the town centre.

There was a large police presence in Black Horse Street as officers from Bolton and Rochdale ensured the demonstration passed off peacefully.

It was triggered by a preliminary hearing in a Rochdale court case which was being heard in Bolton yesterday.

Eight men from Rochdale are accused of offences including rape, paying for the sexual services of a child, trafficking a child and controlling child prostitution.

They have yet to plead to the charges.

Mr Griffin, who was accompanied by a bodyguard, said: “We want to keep the pressure on so action is taken in every town.”

Among the demonstrators was local BNP candidate Dorothy Sayers.

She said: “We’re not racist. We’re simply standing up for the British people because no other party is prepared to.”

But onlookers condemned the demonstration.

Rev Les Allmark, the Bolton town centre chaplain, said: “This is racist propaganda. If they were here every time there was a paedophilia trial they might get more respect.

What we’re seeing here is a small number of activists trying to stir up trouble where there is none.”

Worker Helen Jones added: “I don’t think there’s any place for the BNP in our country. All they do is promote intolerance, ignorance and prejudice in a way that will ultimately divide communities.

We live in a multicultural society and we should be embracing that, not inciting hatred.”

Nishielle-Tamar Lloyd, aged 20, from Heaton, who was waiting for a bus nearby, said: “I don’t agree with it. I’m a Christian and something doesn’t feel Christian about what they’re saying.”

Police said the event passed peacefully. Insp Paul Murphy, who was overseeing the operation, said: “We’re here to facilitate a peaceful protest and prevent a breach of the peace.”