Somerset

Warning over South Somerset hoax 'homeless' letter

A council has issued a warning after a hoax letter was sent claiming that homeless families would be moved into partially empty houses.

The letter, on headed paper, said residents would no longer be eligible for a three-bedroom house if they did not agree to the scheme.

South Somerset District Council said the letter was also "extremely offensive" to minority groups.

The authority has since reported the incident to the police as a hate crime.

The bogus letter appeared to have the council's logo and stated that homeless people would be moved into residents' "part empty or private house to alleviate the homelessness crisis".

'Very bad taste'

A council spokeswoman said it had been told of only one letter, sent to a housing association-owned property.

"We would like to make residents aware that we do not send this type of letter," she said.

"Nor do we intend on sending this type of letter."

Council leader Ric Pallister said: "We utterly condemn this sort of stupid misrepresentation of the council.

"If this was intended as a joke, it is very bad taste and has the potential to cause distress and anger to residents receiving it.

"The serious racial overtone is both illegal and unacceptable to the council and legal action will be taken if the perpetrator is identified."

A spokeswoman for Avon and Somerset Police said the incident had been "logged for intelligence" but could not be investigated until a complaint had been received from a victim.

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