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Keighley ‘thieves’ Facebook page is shut down
A Facebook page set up to target Keighley criminals has been removed after page users threatened violent retaliation against suspects, breaking the site’s rules.
The feature was called ‘Stop The Thieves In Keighley’. By Monday morning, it had attracted nearly 3,500 members, some calling for vigilante-style action to combat offenders.
Visitors initially encouraged responses from townsfolk who had been the victims of burglaries, explaining this would help warn other residents of any risk to their homes and property.
The description accompanying the page stated: “Power of Facebook never fails – if the group gets big enough, people may get their belongings back or may prevent a burglary.”
Stop The Thieves In Keighley had generated a massive number of comments from people furious about their possessions being stolen or destroyed.
Some of them identified Keighley people whom they believed were guilty of these crimes, while others said burglars deserved to be “raped in prison”, or badly beaten up.
Many comments attacked the police for not doing enough to catch thieves.
A Facebook spokesman said: “I can confirm the profile has been removed because it breached our terms, as set out in our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.”
She added Facebook removes material from its site for a number of reasons, including violations such as “bullying, hate speech and inciting violence”.
Councillor Graham Mitchell, who chairs the Keighley Town Council committee that liaises with the police, said: “I have huge reservations about the way in which social networking sites can be abused.
“It’s too easy for people who feel angry about something to sit at home on their computer, type something out and hit send. We don’t need electronic vigilante exercises to get results from Keighley police. The officers are already out there on the streets and doing their job.”
Inspector Tony Reed, of Keighley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We always listen to, and investigate, reports of crime from residents in Keighley and, wherever possible, will take action.
“This can be shown by our December crime crackdown in the town centre, which followed intelligence from residents and saw us target thieves, making ten arrests for a variety of offences.
“Anyone with information about burglary or other types of offending should contact Keighley NPT on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”