CCTV caught the moment a woman set fire to a Pride flag hanging outside a New York City restaurant in what is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

In the footage, she can be seen stepping out of a white vehicle before using a lighter to set alight the flag hanging outside the Little Prince restaurant in the city’s SoHo neighbourhood.

She swiftly gets back into the passenger side of the car and speeds away.

The restaurant was closed at the time and no one was injured by the fire, police have confirmed.

One employee, Stu Matz, was inside cleaning and, in the video, can be seen rushing outside to find the flag on fire.

“It’s always been a nice, comforting thing to everyone in this neighbourhood because it means it’s diverse and open, and the fact that someone would burn that down is horrific,” he told CBS.

The morning after the incident, which took place at 1:35am on 20 February, City Councilman Erik Bottcher raised a new Progress Pride Flag outside the venue.

“This flag is five times the size of the original flag,” he told onlookers. “The person who did this, their plan has backfired and backfired badly.”

The Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force is now investigating what happened and has asked the public for help in identifying the culprit, who is clearly visible in the security footage.

Anyone with info about what happened should call the Crime Stoppers tip line at 800-577-TIPS or get in touch via Twitter @NYPDTips.