Party founders targeted with ‘abusive’ calls

Councillors Wilf Benson and Martyn Sullivan have been getting loads of hoax calls and abusive comments after setting up new political party in South Elmsall.
Councillors Wilf Benson and Martyn Sullivan have been getting loads of hoax calls and abusive comments after setting up new political party in South Elmsall.
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THE founders of a new political party have been targeted with a series of “abusive, malicious and venomous” phone calls.

South Elmsall Town councillor Wilf Benson and former South Elmsall candidate Martyn Sullivan formed the Local and District Party just last month.

But since then they say they have been harrassed by the anonymous and menacing callers who make vicious personal verbal attacks.

Coun Benson was celebrating his wedding anniversary when one abusive answerphone messages was left on his home phone.

He said: “It’s one thing to insult me, but to call my home and say these things when my wife is there is just despicable. It’s not nice when your family is being put through this abuse.”

As well as the personal comments the mystery callers have attacked the new party’s politics and have made nuisance “silent” calls. Mr Sullivan, who stood as an independent councillor for South Elmsall Town council in May, said: “I’ve had around 10 hoax calls, when I answer no-one speaks. They just put the phone down. I accept that people may disagree with me but I am willing to discuss and debate things, but if they haven’t got the courage to speak to me then don’t waste time calling me.”

Coun Benson and South Kirkby and Moorthorpe Town Councillor Harold Mills, former South Elmsall councillor Fred Hilton and Mr Sullivan formed the Local and District Party ready to fight during the next district elections in 2014, plus the town elections in 2015.

Coun Benson said: “The fact we have decided to set up a new party seems to have ruffled some feathers, especially as we have got so much support. It just goes to show what we are up against.”

He also said he had managed to record and save some of the answerphone messages, which were played to the Express.

The South East neighbourhood police team have been made aware of the phone calls. Inspector Geoff Carter said: “It is a criminal offence to make nuisance or malicious phone calls. And any matters reported to the police will be investigated.”

Anyone with any information can contact the police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.