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Newspaper to face no charges over gypsy billboard

A weekly newspaper is to face no further action over a complaint to police over a promotional billboard that carried a headline about plans for a gypsy camp.

The Weston, Worle and Somerset Mercury made headlines last week following a complaint made to Avon and Somerset Police by a councillor over the billboard which which read ‘Gypsies could be on your doorstep.’

Green Party council Tom Leimdorfer reported the matter under the Race Relations Act claiming the words could incite racial hatred.

A file was then handed to the Crown Prosecution Service but this week the Archant owned newspaper told HTFP that they have now been informed by police on that no further action will be taken.

A spokesman for the Mercury said: “We are glad the matter has been resolved. We acted as quickly as we could to tackle the initial complaint and regret the fact that the police had to become involved.

“We did everything possible to limit any damage the poster may have caused and we hope this will now be the end of the matter.”

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police added: “Following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service, no further action will be police in relation to this matter.”

The story appeared in the Mercury on 22 March in relation to a local authority’s proposals to see gypsy camps built next to new homes in the area.

The Mercury recalled the billboards from shops as soon as editors were made aware and printed an apology, along with a letter from Councillor Leimdorfer who has since said he did not want the newspaper to face prosecution.


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  • April 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Why does everybody feel compelled to apologise for something they are clearly not sorry about. The paper should have stuck to its guns and given the nosy-parker councillor the opportunity to make his views known through the Postbag column.

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