Greater Manchester Police have arrested the Savills estate agent who allegedly posted a racist tweet about black England football stars after the Three Lions lost the European Championship to Italy.
Andrew Bone, 37, self-presented at Cheadle Heath police station this morning and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of an offence under Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act.
Bone, a commercial building manager, claimed that his Twitter account had been hacked after a message was posted on his profile on Sunday which said: ‘N*****s ruined it for us.’ After he was widely accused of being a racist, the post was deleted and Bone called for police to investigate.
The message was posted shortly after England players Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho all missed their penalties in Sunday night’s Euros final at Wembley Stadium.
Savills said he has been suspended pending the outcome of the force’s investigation.
Three officers carrying evidence bags and a police radio could be seen searching Bone’s terraced home in Manchester and spent 20 minutes gathering evidence before they left clutching a laptop. In a statement this afternoon, GMP said a suspect remains in custody for questioning.
Detective Inspector Matt Gregory of the force’s Trafford division said: ‘The actions of a small number of people overshadowed what was a hugely unifying event for our country on Sunday evening. We are firm in our commitment, any racist abuse whether online or off is not acceptable.’
Twitter says it has since banned more than 1,000 posts following a flurry of abusive messages aimed at England stars though it is unclear how many tweets were made in the hours after the Euros final and for how long they were allowed to stay up before they were removed.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, described the online attacks as ‘abhorrent’ and said it was working to remove the comments. However, research by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate found that Instagram had taken down just six of 106 accounts reported by users for sending racial abuse.
It came as children’s football coach Nick Scott, 50, from Worcestershire was last night arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred. He previously denied posting racist tweets about Rashford, claiming that his Twitter account had been hacked.
As Bone was arrested for allegedly making a racist tweet:
- Boris Johnson announced online racists will be banned from football matches after a wave of vile abuse;
- Steve Baker called on the Conservative Party to ‘urgently’ change its attitude to people taking the knee;
- An online petition to make ID a requirement for social media accounts hit more than 650,000 signatures;
- Saka, Rashford and Sancho will be supported and asked if they want to pursue criminal action against trolls;
- The PM summoned tech giants to Downing Street and told them to ‘up their game’ over online racism;
- Rashford said he was ‘overwhelmed’ by fans who left supportive messages on his defaced Manchester mural;
- Portsmouth FC and the FA launched an investigation amid claims a number of the club’s academy players racially abused England stars in a group chat leaked on social media.
Andrew Bone, 37, self-presented at Cheadle Heath police station this morning and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of an offence under Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act, Greater Manchester Police said
Three officers carrying evidence bags and a police radio could be seen searching Bone’s terraced home in Manchester and spent 20 minutes gathering evidence before they left clutching a laptop
Police officers can be seen leaving Bone’s home in Manchester after he was accused of making a racist tweet
England’s Bukayo Saka applauds fans after the Euro 2020 final against Italy at Wembley Stadium on Sunday night
Police arrest children’s football coach, 50, for ‘inciting racial hatred’ over tweet telling Marcus Rashford ‘get to ya own country’
Nick Scott, 50, is accused of tweeting the Manchester-born forward to ‘get to ya own country’
A children’s football coach accused of tweeting England star Marcus Rashford with alleged racist abuse has been arrested, police have said today.
Nick Scott, 50, is accused of tweeting the Manchester-born forward to ‘get to ya own country’.
The message was posted following England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy at Wembley on Sunday night.
Scott, from Powick, near Worcester, has previously denied tweeting the message to the 23-year-old star, instead saying his account was ‘hacked’.
West Mercia Police said a 50-year-old man had been detained on suspicion of inciting racial hatred following reports of an inappropriate tweet posted on Sunday.
The police say the man, who they have not named, has since been released under investigation.
Bone’s Twitter account and LinkedIn page have both been deleted. His stepfather Robert Dutson claimed his account had been hacked by someone with a ‘grievance.’
A GMP spokesman previously said: ‘Greater Manchester Police has received complaints about a social media post following the Italy v England Euro 2020 final at Wembley.
‘Reports from across the UK are being collated by United Kingdom Football Policing Unit and the Metropolitan Police and will then be allocated to the relevant forces for further investigation if required.’
A Savills spokesman previously said: ‘Savills confirms that the staff member connected with the racist comments placed on Twitter claims that his account was taken over by a third party and that the matter is being referred to the Greater Manchester Police.
‘Savills has acted swiftly and confirms that the individual is suspended from duty pending the findings of this investigation, which is being progressed as a priority.
‘Savills has a policy of zero tolerance on any form of racial abuse or discrimination.’
It was revealed today that Saka, Rashford and Sancho will be asked by the Football Association whether they want to see any of those who posted racist abuse prosecuted.
Their views will be passed to investigating officers, though police and the CPS may still charge suspects even if the footballers do not want criminal cases to go ahead.
It came as the Centre for Countering Digital Hate said Instagram had taken down just six of 106 accounts reported by users for sending racial abuse, while the i reported it allowed 42 comments likening the three footballers to monkeys and 17 posts containing the N-word to remain on the platform.
Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms have faced calls for more tools to tackle and block abusive messages and stricter censure of users who abuse others.
England captain Harry Kane sent a powerful social media message to those who sent racist abuse to Saka, Rashford and Sancho after they failed to score spot-kicks in England’s agonising 3-2 defeat on penalties against Italy, writing on Twitter: ‘We don’t want you’.
Kane said: ‘Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high. They deserve support & backing not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night.
‘If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an England fan and we don’t want you.’
England manager Gareth Southgate said the racist abuse aimed at the players was unacceptable, adding: ‘It’s just not what we stand for. We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together, in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue.
‘We have shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together. It’s my decision who takes the penalties, it’s not a case of players not volunteering or more experienced players backing out.’
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson today announced that online racists will be banned from football matches after a wave of vile abuse of England stars.
Mr Johnson told MPs that the Government is toughening up the football banning order regime as he clashed with Sir Keir Starmer over his stance on the national team ‘taking the knee’ before matches.
The Labour leader attacked Mr Johnson at PMQs demanding to know if he regretted branding the anti-racism symbol ‘gesture’ politics.
Marcus Rashford (left) and Jadon Sancho (right) also faced racist abuse after missing their penalties in the final on Sunday
England manager Gareth Southgate and Bukayo Saka look dejected after the final
Petition to make ID a requirement for social media hits more than 600,000 signatures – as more than a million people sign campaign to permanently ban racists from football matches
A petition to make ID a requirement for social media accounts has hit more than 650,000 signatures in the wake of trolls targeting England’s Euro 2020 stars
A petition to make ID a requirement for social media accounts has hit more than 650,000 signatures in the wake of trolls targeting England’s Euro 2020 stars.
Started by model Katie Price, and backed by other celebrities including Love Island presenter Laura Whitmore, it calls for personal accounts on sites such as Facebook and Twitter to be linked to a verified form of identification.
This would then prevent, the petition says, ‘anonymised harmful activity, providing traceability if an offence occurs’.
England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were racially abused on social media after missing penalties during the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.
Boris Johnson then held showdown talks with social media firms yesterday, demanding they ‘up their game’ over the abuse suffered by the Three Lions stars.
It comes as another, separate campaign to permanently ban racists from football matches has received the backing of a million fans in just two days and received the seal of approval from the Prime Minister this afternoon.
He jibed that the premier had been focused on fighting a ‘culture war’ but had now realised he was on the ‘wrong side’, with outrage at more than a thousand racist tweets targeted at the trio who missed penalties in the Euros final.
Mr Johnson replied: ‘I repeat that I utterly condemn and abhor the racist outpourings that we saw on Sunday night, and so what we’re doing is today is taking practical steps to ensure that the football banning order regime is changed, so that if you are guilty of racist abuse online of footballers, then you will not be going to the match, no ifs, no buts, no exemptions and no excuses.’
One Government insider told MailOnline that the tone from ministers on ‘taking the knee’ needed to shift because public views had. ‘The dial has moved. If you look at the polls you can see that. The England players have redefined taking the knee,’ they said.
A shadow cabinet minister also suggested the balance in the ‘culture wars’ appeared to be changing.
‘In Hartlepool the Tories were sending round leaflets pointing out that Keir had taken the knee. I don’t think they would do that again,’ they told MailOnline. ‘No-one believes that Raheem Sterling wants to bring down capitalism or defund the police.’
In a stormy session of PMQs, Sir Keir said: ‘Does the Prime Minister think that it was wrong to criticise the England team’s decision to oppose racism by taking the knee as gesture politics?’
He added: ‘Can he tell the House, does he now regret failing to condemn those who booed England players for standing up to racism 0 yes or no?’
Mr Johnson replied: ‘We made it absolutely clear that no-one should boo the England team.
‘In addition to changing the football banning order regime, last night I met representatives of Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and I made it absolutely clear to them that we will legislate to address this problem in the Online Harms Bill.
‘And unless they get hate and racism off their platforms they will face fines amounting to 10 per cent of their global revenues – we all know they have the technology to do it.’
Mr Johnson defended Home Secretary Priti Patel’s comments about taking the knee, saying she had been fighting racism ‘all her life’ while also seeking to take ‘practical steps to advance the cause of black and minority ethnic groups’.
But Sir Keir said: ‘We could all see what’s happened here – the Government has been trying to stoke a culture war and they’ve realised they’re on the wrong side, and now they’re hoping nobody has noticed.
‘Why else would a Conservative MP boast that he’s not watching his own team? Why else would another Conservative MP say that Marcus Rashford spends too much time playing politics when he’s actually trying to feed children that the Government won’t? And why will the Prime Minister refuse time and time again – even now – to condemn those who boo our players for standing up against racism?
‘What is it that this England team symbolises that this Conservative Party is so afraid of?’
Ms Patel did not lead for the Government on an urgent question in the Commons after PMQs, with Home Office minister Victoria Atkins saying she was hosting an event highlighting violence against women.
Last night, England star Rashford said he was ‘overwhelmed’ by the actions of football fans who left supportive messages on his Manchester mural after it was defaced with ‘racist graffiti’.
The Manchester United player, 23, took to Instagram to share his thanks after fans rushed to cover the offensive messages by placing letters of support across the mural, which is painted on the wall of the Coffee House Cafe in Rashford’s home town of Withington.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson today announced that online racists will be banned from football matches after a wave of vile abuse of England stars. Mr Johnson told MPs that the Government is toughening up the football banning order regime as he clashed with Sir Keir Starmer over his stance on the national team ‘taking the knee’ before matches
Sir Keir attacked Mr Johnson at PMQs, demanding to know if he regretted branding the anti-racism symbol ‘gesture’ politics
Anti-racism campaigners last night took the knee in front of the Rashford mural after it was defaced by vandals after England’s defeat to Italy on Sunday night
Messages of support are seen at the defaced mural of Marcus Rashford which was repaired by the artist Akse
The artwork, which was created by French-born artist Akse in November 2020, was defaced in what is being investigated by police as a possible ‘hate crime’
Sharing pictures of the kindly-worded letters, the Three Lions forward said: ‘Overwhelmed. Thankful. Lost for words.’ The Premier League star also included images of hundreds of anti-racism campaigners who took the knee in front of the mural last night.
Stand Up To Racism held a demonstration at the mural to show solidarity with Rashford after he was racially abused by online trolls in the wake of England’s heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat.
Members of the group were seen holding aloft signs with ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘No Justice No Peace’ at the anti-racism demonstration. Crowds also joined in with a protester chanting ‘Black Lives Matter’ on a megaphone.
Family friends of Rashford, including his ‘aunties’ and godmother, Norma Morgan, Fay Banton and Carol Wright, were among the 300-strong crowd. Ms Banton told the Guardian: ‘He (Rashford) would love it. At this point in time, he’s so low.’
Rashford’s mural was also defaced in what is being investigated by police as a possible ‘hate crime’, with derogatory comments about the forward, including the words ‘sh**e’ and ‘b*****d’. Further graffiti said ‘f**k Sancho’ in reference to Three Lions teammate Sancho.
The mural has since been repaired and is now covered in messages of support from England fans, who have left notes, flags and shirts on the wall in solidarity with the footballer.