LONDON, ONT. -- Stratford police are investigating after a racist picture and messages were posted on local social media.

Police say the series of messages and a photo of a symbol that is commonly associated with hatred were publicly posted on various websites over the previous weekend.

Police are looking into the possibility a hate crime was committed and are taking the matter seriously.

The Criminal Code of Canada defines a hate crime as communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace and/or by communicating statements, other than in private conversation that willfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group.

Stratford police are encouraging anyone with information on these online incidents or any other possible hate crimes to contact them at 519-271-4147.