Investigation after reports man defecated in garden of cricketer Azeem Rafiq

Police are searching for a man after someone reportedly defecated in the garden of cricketer Azeem Rafiq.

Rafiq revealed the unsavoury episode as he described the abuse and threats his family have suffered after he spoke out about racism in the sport.

Early this month, the former Yorkshire bowler told MPs about the incident at his Barnsley home, saying: "The downside and the difficult bits have been that my family has been the target of abuse, threats and attacks.

"Recently at my family house there was a bloke in broad daylight who, basically, walked in and out of the garden on the phone before defecating. Bringing a loo roll. And, it looked all very planned."

Rafiq said that in another incident a man was seen late at night near his home, circling with what looked like a chain in his hand.

"If I was to look at 13 months on from me opening my heart out, all that's changed really is that me and my family have been driven out of the country," he told the MPs. "And that's a sad element of it."

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On Thursday, South Yorkshire Police said officers were looking into an incident in Barnsley on 5 October, which it described as a hate crime.

The force issued a picture of a man they want to speak to.

It said in a statement: "At 6.18pm on 5 October, it's reported that a man defecated in the front garden of an address on Gawber Road, Barnsley.

"It is believed that the incident, which is classed as a public order offence, is racially motivated.

"We are looking to speak to this man as we believe he could help us progress our enquiries."

Last year, Rafiq apologised for sending antisemitic messages in 2011 in a post on social media.

He said he was "ashamed" of messages he sent more than a decade ago when he was 19 years old and apologised to the Jewish community.