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Colin Jordan


What a terrible crime, disagreeing with a Conservative councillor.

Hate e-mails sent to councillor over litter leaflets

Councillor John Robertshaw
Councillor John Robertshaw

Police have now launched an investigation after a councillor who uncovered a stockpile of potentially offensive anti-littering leaflets was sent hate mail.

Coun John Robertshaw (Con, Bowling and Barkerend) says he received “vile” emails from around the world after he exposed a blunder involving around 16,000 anti-littering leaflets aimed specifically at Muslims had to be scrapped by Bradford Council.

The full-colour, glossy flyers were printed six months ago but were never distributed after a senior council manager spotted the potential to offend.

Now police have confirmed they are are investigating after Coun Robertshaw received hate mail after the story appeared in the T&A.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police described the emails as “derogatory in nature”.

He added: “An officer has been assigned to help verify their origin and establish any offences committed.

“The Neighbourhood Policing Team is monitoring the situation and will take action where appropriate.”

Coun Robertshaw said he hoped those responsible for the emails were “brought to book.”

He said: “It’s sad people want to spend their time doing this sort of thing. In many respects these people are very ignorant about what we are doing in Bradford.

“I want the law to do what they have to do. The fact I have spoken out on an issue that affects Muslims, and I am a white man, it’s clear it is race hate. The content is disgraceful.

“I don’t regret anything I have done and I am not going to be intimidated.”

Coun Robertshaw said two questions would be asked at next week’s meeting of the full council about the issue.

An invoice detailing how much the leaflets cost will be requested, he said. The Council will also be asked for details about how the leaflets came to be produced.

A spokesman for the Council has previously said the leaflet was issued by a junior officer, and Council leader Ian Greenwood said the production cost about £350.

'Offensive' litter leaflet is scrapped by Council

Thousands of Bradford Council anti-littering leaflets targeted specifically at Muslims have been scrapped following fears they may be offensive.

The front of the litter leaflet that has been scrapped
The front of the litter leaflet that has been scrapped

About 16,000 of the full-colour, glossy flyers were printed six months ago but were never distributed after a senior Council manager spotted the potential to offend.

Now Conservative councillors are demanding to know who authorised the printing of the leaflet, at a cost of hundreds of pounds to the taxpayer, and why the error was not spotted earlier.

The Tory group also believes if they had been distributed, the Council could have faced charges for inciting racial hatred.

The leaflet states: “There is no excuse for dropping litter and living in a dirty neighbourhood. Dumping rubbish on the streets makes the area look horrible. It is also illegal.”

But it goes on to say: “What does Islam say about the environment we live in?” and quotes verses of the Koran and that Allah has declared the whole of the earth as a place of prayer for Muslims.

Councillor John Robertshaw, chairman of the Council’s social care overview and scrutiny committee, discovered the leaflets by chance.

He said: “I was mortified to learn that the Council has 16,000 of them, double sided, full colour and glossy, sitting in a room collecting dust. Apparently it was not until they were about to be distributed that a Labour councillor noticed that the content was offensive.

“I find it impossible to accept that particularly in these financially-difficult times no-one proof-read the original draft and prevented money being wasted on a leaflet which could never have been distributed.

“A leaflet encouraging people not to drop litter, specifically targeting believers in Islam, is so outrageous that I still find it hard to believe that this has happened.”

Coun Robertshaw, who represents the Bowling and Barkerend ward, added that he would be asking Councillor Ian Greenwood, the leader of the Council, for clarification on how much the leaflets cost and who is responsible for their existence.

“If these had gone out the Council could have been charged with inciting racial hatred, suggesting that litter dropping is exclusive to or more prevalent amongst Muslims,” he said.

A spokesman for the Council said: “A leaflet which was clearly inappropriate was issued by a junior officer. Lessons have been learned and it was withdrawn by management.”

Councillor Greenwood said the leaflets had cost about £350. He said it was “not appropriate” to promote or criticise any particular religious view.

He said: “Somebody has made a mistake and it has been rectified as soon as senior management realised the error.”

He said the Council was “not in the business” of seriously reprimanding a junior officer for the mistake.