Weston Mercury billboard poster probed by police

Police have referred complaints to the Crown Prosecution Service about a newspaper billboard poster which said "Gypsies could be on your doorstep".

Avon and Somerset Police said they had received a number of complaints after Weston Mercury's billboards were placed outside some newsagents in March.

Officers said the paper had printed an apology and withdrew posters. They said the matter had been passed to the CPS.

The Weston Mercury has declined to comment.

North Somerset Green Party councillor Tom Leimdorfer said the posters had been "unacceptable" and had used a "damaging use of words".

"It suggest that there is a category of people - people of a certain race or background who are to be feared," he said.

"If you look at that wording and you replace the word 'gypsies' with 'blacks' or 'Jews' you would immediately see how unacceptable that kind of wording is."

The CPS said it had been approached by the police for initial advice but added "that advice is yet to be given".

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