Lincolnshire

Fireman Sam: Man jailed for abusive messages to fire chief

Fireman Sam character Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Fireman Sam - who was created in the 1980s by a London firefighter - was dropped by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue for being outdated and non-inclusive

A man who sent malicious messages to Lincolnshire's fire chief after Fireman Sam was axed as a mascot for the brigade has been jailed.

Jeremy Flashman sent Les Britzman the messages in September after the Lincolnshire chief fire officer was interviewed by Piers Morgan on TV.

Flashman, 56, of Kings Road, Southminster, Essex, appeared at Lincoln Magistrates' Court earlier.

The telecoms engineer was jailed for 10 weeks.

Fireman Sam was dropped by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service from its promotional material, claiming the children's TV character, created in the 1980s, was outdated, not inclusive and could put women off joining.

Kate Minihane, prosecuting, said that following the interview, Mr Britzman received a number of messages and calls from Flashman.

'Moment of madness'

In one message, she said he called Mr Britzman a "sick paedophile" and said the officer's mother should have been castrated to prevent him being born.

Flashman also said: "It's [expletive] Fireman Sam not Fireman Samantha... Who do you think you are?"

She said Mr Britzman found the contents of the messages "deeply disturbing and upsetting".

"He finds it hard to understand how someone could get so angry and abusive about something like this," she said.

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Passing sentence, district Judge Peter Veits told Flashman: "It was absolutely abysmal behaviour.

"Whatever the rights and wrongs of Fireman Sam, the chief fire officer did not deserve this level of abuse."

Flashman, who admitted three charges of sending an offensive, indecent or obscene message to Mr Britzman, was traced through the mobile phone he used to make the calls.

In mitigation, Tony Freitas said: "He knows full well his actions have gone too far.

"He describes it as a moment of madness. A mad rant. He is very embarrassed, and apologises profoundly to Mr Britzman."

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