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Researchers have found that people appear to be more racist and homophobic when they are drunk.

The recent study suggests that hate crimes are more likely to be carried out when people are drunk as alcohol acts as an 'igniter' to express prejudice.

The study found that out of 124 people, 18.5 percent considered that they have been attacked by people motivated by prejudice and that alcohol intoxication accounted for 90 percent of these attacks.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, director of the Cardiff University Crime and Security Research Institute, said: "A striking aspect of the study was the discovery that most attacks weren't fuelled by hate alone; alcohol appeared to act as an igniter."

Over 20 participants claimed that the attack on them was motivated by prejudice and seven said they thought their appearance was the motive. While five of them suggested that it was because of racial tensions within the communities they lived.

The survey by Cardiff University was carried out in Cardiff, Blackburn and Leicester -- these cities were chosen because all of them are home to multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multicultural populations.

Jonathan Shepherd said: "Our findings suggest that tackling alcohol abuse is not only important in regards to the health of individuals but also to the health of our society."

Shepherd added: "Additionally, we have learned that emergency room violence surveys can act as a community tension sensor and early warning system."

Earlier this year, researchers also found that people who smoke cannabis are more likely to commit violent crimes.

Researchers from institutes based in Montreal, Canada, examined the lives of 1,136 patients – both men and women, at psychiatric hospitals in Missouri, Pittsburgh and Massachusetts.

They found that people who smoke the drug regularly are a higher risk of using violence against others.