Lancashire police say they will prosecute residents inciting disorder on social networking sites - and have asked people to avoid "unhelpful rumour mongering" alleging riots and other social unrest.
The warning and request comes after riots eleswhere in the UK and today's announcement by the police that a 28-year-old Heysham man has been charged with encouraging / assisting the commission of an offence on Facebook.
“Fortunately in Lancashire, we have had no major incidents of the kind of disorder seen elsewhere over recent nights," notes Assistant Chief Constable Peter White from Lancashire Constabulary. "There have been some isolated incidents of criminal damage in some areas of the county overnight, which is usual for this time of year, but given the wider national picture we will be investigating the circumstances surrounding the motivations for such behaviour.
“I would like to reassure people that although there is nothing to suggest to us at present that there will be any disorder in Lancashire, a force-wide operation is in place to ensure that the situation remains under close watch and that resources are readily available should they be needed.
“We have seen lots of speculation across the social media about things allegedly happening in Lancashire," he added, "and we would urge people not to get caught up in this kind of unhelpful rumour mongering.
“These actions are causing unnecessary concern for people living in Lancashire and in the worst case scenario, may encourage unrest in our county."
Police have warned they will act if people are seen to incite disorder on social sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Earlier today Karl Manley, 28, of Goldfinch Close, Heysham, was charged with encouraging / assisting the commission of an offence and will appear before Lancaster Magistrates Court on the 19th August.
“Social media sites are routinely monitored by the Constabulary and anyone found to be inciting violence or disorder in this way will be dealt with by police," the Assistant Chief Constable notes.
“In fact, a 28-year-old man from Heysham has been arrested and charged in connection with a message placed on a social networking site.
“We are really fortunate in Lancashire to have strong, law abiding communities and this is invaluable to how we are able to police the county.”