A pub landlord hopes more people in the gay community will report homophobic abuse to the police following a drive to encourage people to speak out.

Police and members of the Terence Higgins Trust and the Homophobia Awareness Liaison Team visited the Castle Tavern and the Jolly Farmer pubs in Oxford on Friday to spread the message that any reports of homophobic attacks would be taken seriously.

Both pubs are popular with members of the gay community.

There were 25 homophobic crimes reported to police between June last year and last Friday.

However, police believe many more verbal and physical attacks may be taking place.

Neil Ritchie, landlord of both pubs, said he reported homophobic abuse to the police about twice a month.

He said: "I wanted the police to come in and talk to people, mainly my younger customer base.

"I wanted the police to give them confidence to feel that any reports to the police will be dealt with in confidence - and that the police will do something about it."

He added: "We get verbal abuse all the time aimed at the pub.

"Last year someone smashed our windows in with a steel bar.

"Most of the abuse we get is mindless name-calling, but it is scary for an 18-year-old who is just coming to terms with his sexuality."

Josh Hall, a gay man's sexual health worker with the sexual health charity, Terrence Higgins Trust, based in Pembroke Street, also went out with the police to visit the two Oxford pubs.

He said: "I think the number of homophobic incidents reported does not represent the number that actually take place.

"It goes on on a daily basis and unfortunately people don't go to the police to report being called a name."

Pc Chris Griffin, who works to tackle hate crime in Oxford, said he spoke to about 40 people on Friday, and described the evening as a success.

He said: "It went very well. It was well responded to and well received.

"There is an unawareness of what a homophobic crime is.

"People are receiving all these insults and do not think they should be reported."

Anyone who has been a victim of homophobic crime should call Pc Griffin on 08458 505505.