Essex

Man cautioned for harassing Essex police officer

A man has been cautioned by police for harassment after posting 250 blogs on a website under the false name of a serving Essex Police officer.

The 54-year-old man from Benfleet, who is himself an ex-policeman, blogged on the Southend Echo's website under the name of Det Con Nick Burton.

Police said: "The majority of these blogs were offensive and were critical of the force."

The man admitted causing harassment and was issued with a police caution.

'Particularly distressing'

Police said in a statement that the man was arrested "following an internal police investigation and then a subsequent criminal investigation by Essex Police".

"The investigations were launched after over 250 blogs were registered on the Southend Echo's website during the course of five years," the force said.

"These blogs were from a person calling themselves Nick Burton - a serving Essex police officer.

"The police investigations revealed that the blogs were not posted by the officer, but rather from the Benfleet man who himself had been a former officer with Essex Police.

"Nick Burton and his family had suffered numerous other forms of harassment, but the newspaper postings were particularly distressing as colleagues believed Det Con Burton was the author."

Martin McNeill, editorial director of Newsquest Essex, which publishes the Southend Echo, said a number of the posts had been "critical and outspoken" about Essex Police and Mr Burton.

"However, as far as our records show, the officer did not make us aware of his concerns," said Mr McNeill.

"We had no reason to believe the comments posted in his name were not genuine.

"As soon as the Echo was made aware of Essex Police's criminal investigation, just a few months ago, we took action to ban the user and gave Essex Police the information they requested."

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