Police called over Tweets targeting councillors

Council bosses have reported 'hateful' Twitter accounts to the police.

Friday, 16th December 2016, 3:23 pm
Updated Saturday, 17th December 2016, 9:19 am
Offensive tweets from Twitter account attacking South Ribble councillors and officers

South Ribble Council was targeted by three parody accounts in October and November, following a taxi licensing scandal. Each of the accounts published scores of Tweets aimed at councillors and council officers.

Among tweets were photoshopped pictures and videos depicting councillors of all parties in compromising positions, and suggesting wrongdoing in their political conduct.

One councillor was labelled a “sex pest” and inferences were made to anothers being alcoholic. The accounts have now been deleted but the council has compiled screenshots.

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Coun Peter Mullineaux, leader of South Ribble Council, said: “A number of South Ribble councillors and officers have been targeted on Twitter, with libellous and hateful claims made about their conduct. We have contacted the police and are considering legal action.

“We will not stand for bullying at this council. We have a duty of care for both members and our staff and we will take all steps necessary to protect them.”

Coun Paul Foster, leader of the opposition and a target of the accounts, said he “totally supports” the council and police in their investigation.

He said: “The personal hurt and damage this campaign has caused many individuals, particularly the council’s staff, is wholly unacceptable. We know who these people are, they know we know, and it’s just now down to gathering together the evidence for the Police to act. When they are outed it will be really interesting to see what their keyboards have to say then. They think causing individuals stress and hurt is somehow funny, but what they need to understand is that respect and decency will always ultimately win.”

Police have been unavailable for comment.