The Liverpool landmark The Beatles made famous in the song Penny Lane has become the latest target for anti-racism activists keen to erase monuments to slave traders.

Road signs on Penny Lane have been defaced amid concerns the street is named after James Penny, an 18th Century slave merchant.

On Thursday night, protesters blacked out the word ‘Penny’ and replaced it with ‘racist’, even though it’s not clear who the lane is named after.

Officials at Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum insist the link to James Penny was “not conclusive”.

The news comes days after a statue of slave trader Edward Colston was dragged through the streets of Bristol, England, and thrown in the River Avon, while similar protests have been staged throughout Britain and in America, where statues of Confederate Army ‘heroes’ have been targeted due to links to slavery.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has condemned the Penny Lane vandalism, telling the BBC, “It does nothing to further advance the argument and the debate around Black Lives Matter here in Liverpool. It isn’t just about the artefacts and street names, it’s also about how we change the fundamental things that are causing disadvantage and inequality within our city.”

James Penny reportedly captained 11 voyages carrying slaves and also spoke in favour of slavery at a parliamentary inquiry into the trade in the 1780s.