Monday, 30 November 2015

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Man, 29, arrested over Carlisle Facebook comments

A 29-year-old man has been arrested after complaints about comments posted on a Carlisle Facebook page.

Emma Barnes photo
Emma Barnes

The man, who has been bailed, was detained after messages were left on a ‘Spotted’ page on the social networking site.

Police say there have been complaints about some of the comments appearing on the pages, which allow posters to leave anonymous messages about people seen out and about in the city.

The pages are specific to certain areas with at least 15 across Cumbria and three dedicated to Carlisle alone.

Inspector Craig Smith, of the Force Intelligence Bureau, said police have been working with Facebook to remove offensive comments and shut some of the Spotted pages down.

“If you post offensive and inflammatory material and there is a complaint we will investigate,” he said.

Emma Barnes, of Morton, Carlisle, suffered bullying and abusive comments on her cake company’s Facebook page.

The problems got so bad she decided to sell the business and now runs Blonde Marketing which teaches others how to use social media properly.

She welcomes the police crackdown and is calling for the pages to be closed for good.

Emma said: “Whoever is behind these pages is trying to give people the opportunity to speak out. But it’s just cyber bullying and being vile to others anonymously which is despicable.

“I’m definitely pleased the police are acting as I have experienced cyber bullying myself and it had a really serious effect on me. It is important to protect people’s feelings and privacy as the effects can be tragic.”

The News & Star spoke to the creators and moderators of ‘Spotted: Carlisle’ who did not want to reveal their identities.

They promised to help any police investigation and report anything they felt needed to be brought to the attention of police.

To prevent the page from being removed they say bullying, racism, and hate speech were not accepted.

They insist the page is not there to cause offence and will remove anything reported to them as offensive.

They say they have so far received no complaints about the site and only five complaints about messages, which were removed “no questions asked”.

They add: “We don’t want to cause any distress to anyone – that’s not what we are about.

“I think it is very evident in our posts that we are running this page very well, not causing anything that could be classed as offensive or dangerous to anyone.”

They believe the problem lies with copycat pages, which they reported and have subsequently been taken down.

However, they admit that 70 per cent of messages posted on their page are deleted as they may be harmful.

“We want to be positive and make people feel good about themselves,” they add.

The 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence and bailed pending further inquiries.

Have you been a victim of cyber bullying on Cumbria’s Spotted pages? Contact our newsdesk on 01228 612665 or email


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