Vandals and fly-tippers have driven worshippers out of a Hindu temple in Edmonton.

Thugs have hurled stones at the Krsna Yoga Mandir temple, tried to wrench open the door, and thrown dozens of heavy bags of rubbish into the grounds.

Now visitors to the temple in Balham Road, which also serves as a community centre for elderly Hindus, say they feel too scared to visit.

Hindu priest Bandit Krishnatreya, 79, fears they are the victims of a backlash against minorities in the wake of the terror attacks on London.

He said: "A centre for elderly people is going to have to shut down because of vandalism and I feel like shedding tears. People used to come from Hertford and Essex to this temple but everything has stopped now.

"What is the sense of all this rubbish? We are not terrorists, the people who are doing this are the ones who are terrorising us. People may think the temple is derelict because the windows are boarded up but we have been very successfully running this place since 1981."

The Met Police and Ken Livingstone's Greater London Authority have set up a helpline for people who feel vulnerable following the terrorist attacks.

Staff at the New Scotland Yard call-centre will be available to offer advice and information over recent events to increase understanding and build community confidence.

Len Duvall, the chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said: "We make it clear that racism and bigotry in any form are condemned unequivocally a backlash against any of our communities would be playing into the hands of the terrorists."

The 24-hour advice line can be contacted free on 0800 028 2390.