DEMONSTRATIONS are planned in a North-East town against what campaigners say is unfair treatment of asylum seekers.

Darlington Anti-Racist Group, which was formed eight years ago, held a meeting last night.

Chairman Richard Heaven said: "The meeting was in support of asylum seekers and refugees because we feel they're being used a scapegoats for society's problems.

"The idea is to get people from the Darlington area to start coordinating some public activities in defence of asylum seekers."

Mr Heaven attacked the voucher scheme for asylum seekers, which allows them to buy goods from designated stores.

He said: "With these vouchers you can only purchase limited services. For example, you can't buy toothpaste, children's toys, tobacco and many other things.

"You've also got to consider that supermarkets are encouraged to take part in the scheme, and they're legally entitled to keep the change from those vouchers.

"If someone buys £18 worth of goods and they have a £20 voucher, they can quite legally keep the £2 change - that's kicking them when they're down."

Mr Heaven added: "We'll be planning some activities in the area, targeting supermarkets which are part of the voucher scheme and raising awareness of the issues involved."