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False reports are wasting police time


11:37am 6th December 2011

York police are warning residents that a number of rumours circulating on the internet are threatening the progress of their investigation into a suspicious vehicle that has been reportedly seen in the city recently.

Rumours have been circulating on social networking sites, which are unfounded and a very unhelpful to the police, who are currently investigating an incident on Gale Lane which they regard genuine.

Over the past two weeks, officers have received eight calls from people purporting to have seen a black Ford Mondeo with blacked out windows, similar to a vehicle that was subject to a historical report sometime ago.

It is thought that much of the public’s concerns stem from a letter which was sent out in good faith by a local school which has since been replicated by other schools in the area.

Officers are advising the public that, while they must stay vigilant, making false allegations only hampers the real investigation and unsettles the community.

Sergeant Iain Sirrell, of York West Safer Neighbourhood Team, said:

“It has become apparent that an alarming number of similar reports have been false and this is derailing the ongoing investigation into, what is potentially a serious offence.

“We take a very dim view of such reports that waste police time and hamper the progression of the ongoing investigation.

“We are also concerned about the reaction to the incidents on social networking sites, such as Facebook. It is becoming apparent that the original two incidents, which we took the decision to warn people of, are now being  exaggerated on these sites.

“Whilst we are keen for people to be are aware of the initial incident and therefore be able to take appropriate action; we are also keen to prevent any social network hysteria about this issue.

“Whilst the initial reported incident is concerning, residents of York need to be aware that these are isolated and unusual events within our community. Please be observant, but not alarmist.”

If you have a genuine concern about any suspicious activity in your community you can contact North Yorkshire Police on 0845 60 60 24 7.

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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