Police are investigating whether a tyre-slashing spree in a car park close to the Alhambra Theatre could be linked to a demonstration against an Israeli dance troupe performing there.

Five vehicles were attacked in the unlit car park in Sharpe Street, yards from the Alhambra, where a performance by the Batsheva Ensemble dance company was taking place.

The dancers were interrupted several times by protesters waving Palestinian flags during their performance.

A member of the Don’t Dance With Israeli Apartheid coalition vigorously denied they had any involvement with the damage.

Terry Gallogly said: “There is absolutely no question of any illegality by our group. We are all entirely peaceful. It is a peaceful protest, principally by church people, Quakers, pacifist groups and members of the Bradford community who are concerned about the legality of the occupation of Palestine.

“I am 75 years old, so make your own judgement.”

Mr Gallogly said that a woman protester had been punched in the stomach by a member of the audience while she distributed leaflets inside the theatre.

West Yorkshire Police said they had not received a complaint of an assault.

There was a heavy police presence last night for a further protest as the Israeli dance group performed again.

Education officer Maggie Peel, who was in the Alhambra audience on Tuesday, had parked her Citroen C2 on the Sharpe Street car park. As she drove home along Manningham Lane she heard a rattle, stopped her car and found she had a puncture.

She said: “The rear passenger tyre had been slashed. It was a few inches wide. I assume it had been caused by a knife.”

Mrs Peel, 57, said: “It was annoying. It is a coincidence that it happened when there was a protest at the theatre. You can’t say that the protest had anything to do with the attacks on the cars. If it was it would be intimidation and not a helpful way of protesting.”

Police said that, though there was nothing at this stage to suggest a link between the tyre-slashing and the demonstration, “we cannot rule out the possibility.”

Any witnesses should contact the non-emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.