Leeds & West Yorkshire

Kidnap tailboard sticker sparks Leeds police investigation

A truck with a bumper sticker depicting a bound and hooded woman Image copyright James Hellewell
Image caption The pick-up driver posted his finished design on Twitter

A man has been warned by police after driving around Leeds with a tailboard sticker depicting a bound and hooded woman.

The image creates the impression a woman has been tied up and is lying in the back of the pick-up.

West Yorkshire Police warned James Hellewell the picture could be considered a public order offence.

He agreed to remove it, apologising on Twitter "for any offence", adding that it had been "truly a joke".

Image copyright James Hellewell

Ch Insp Steve Palmer said the police had been alerted to the truck by a concerned member of the public who saw it in Leeds city centre.

He said: "These concerns were also raised on social media, which prompted a number of similar complaints to West Yorkshire Police.

"It was clear that a number of people had found the image offensive and had been alarmed and distressed by it being displayed in public.

"The registered keeper of the vehicle was traced and spoken to by officers and made aware of the concerns raised and the potential for the continued display of the image to be treated as a public order offence."

Mr Hellewell, who describes himself on his Twitter profile as a personal trainer from Wakefield, used the hashtag #rapetruck in some of his tweets about the design.

When confronted over the term he replied: "How does it signify rape tell me? For a start the picture was my mum, so hardly rape."

He added: "It's boring now, it's removed and I've apologised, get a grip."

One Twitter user posted a message to him saying: "I cannot believe how sick some people are and think a picture of a bound, gagged woman can be fun."

Another tweeted a gym chain : "It really concerns me that you employ a person who finds it acceptable to glorify rape in the way that @JamesHellewell does."

A third user wrote: "How low can you go? This is sick, not humour."

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