A FORMER Ukip canvasser who allegedly posted anti-Muslim comments and racist pictures online has been arrested.

Police quizzed pensioner Tony Nixon in connection with a Facebook account containing jokes about destroying mosques, setting Muslims on fire and running over people from Pakistan with a bus.

The 66-year-old, of Great Broughton, near Stokesley, North Yorkshire, was arrested by Stokesley police on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred under the Public Order Act.

He was released on bail while inquiries continue.

The arrest comes after a Facebook account allegedly belonging to Mr Nixon was seized on by anti-fascist activists when he claimed to have canvassed 800 homes in the Stokesley area for Ukip ahead of last month's local elections.

Campaigners claimed Mr Nixon's comments proved that Ukip had members with far-right sympathies.

The account features several offensive photographs, including an image of President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, which had been doctored to make the couple look like monkeys and a photograph of pigs eating copies of the Koran.

In one post, Mr Nixon allegedly tells a friend that the English Defence League and Ukip are on the same side "in the fight against traitors to Britain".

Another post states: "Instead of turning Ground Zero into a mosque why not turn some mosques into ground zero?"

The comments were reported to the police by The Northern Echo.

At the time UKIP said it was shocked to learn of Mr Nixon's views, which it said were not representative of the party.

Mr Nixon's membership was suspended pending an urgent investigation.

The comments were condemned by Ged Grebby, from the North-East-based Show Racism the Red Card group and anti-racism pressure group Hope Not Hate, which originally exposed the account.

A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Police said: “We can confirm that a 66-year-old man from Great Broughton was arrested on May 23, 2013 after racist and offensive comments were posted on a Facebook page.

“The man has been released on police bail while the investigation continues.”