Chief in tweet row over ‘all-day boozers and tattooed chavs’ pub

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AN investigation has been launched after a senior council officer appeared to brand a pub used by disabled children and their families a “haven for all-day boozers and tattooed chavs”.

The comment, regarding the Foundry Arms in Scunthorpe, was allegedly made on the social networking website Twitter by John Bullivent, manager of the digital inclusion unit at North Lincolnshire Council.

The comments were part of an online discussion regarding the future of the pub, which was forced to close in July just a fortnight after being officially opened by the mayor of North Lincolnshire because of safety concerns about a multi-storey car park next to it.

The pub has a children’s play area staffed by carers and a room designed for children with special needs.

Mr Bullivent’s tweet read: “Demolish the dump. It’s just a haven for all-day boozers and tattooed chavs.”

Coun Mark Kirk, leader of the opposition Labour group at the Tory-led authority, called for an inquiry and the council later confirmed the matter was being investigated.

Coun Kirk said: “I have written to the chief executive for it to be looked at and it would be inappropriate for me to make any comment until it’s been fully investigated.”

A council spokesman said: “The council is aware of what has been reported and will carry out an internal investigation into what has happened. However, we do not comment on individual cases involving employees.”

Mr Bullivent was not available for comment yesterday.

Use of the micro-blogging service Twitter has become increasingly popular as a swift and simple means of communicating to a potentially wide audience.

But it and other social networking websites have also landed users in trouble.

In February, the leader of the Conservative group at Hull Council, Coun John Fareham, was forced to apologise for a comment he made on Twitter during a stormy council meeting. Coun Fareham called protesters in the public gallery “retards” while the authority’s budget was being debated, but later said: “I used a word I shouldn’t have and I’m sorry. I have removed the comment and tweeted an apology.”

Last week the headteacher of Westcott Primary School in Hull and another teacher quit after a row over insults made on the social networking website Facebook.

They had allegedly taken part in an online discussion in which local residents were called “thick” and “inbred”.

Hull East Labour MP Karl Turner welcomed their decision to leave, and said: “I am born and bred in East Hull and it does annoy me. I left school at 16 without an O level but I am not thick and inbred.”

Last month, two secondary school teachers at South Holderness Technology College in the East Riding who had been suspended over crude comments made on Facebook returned to work after “appropriate management action” by East Riding Council.

The comments apparently contained crude language and originated in an online chat between three members of staff.

An investigation was launched after pupils at the school in Preston, near Hull, passed round copies of the messages.

And last year a director at Yorkshire Ambulance Service was disciplined after making a withering attack on the health service through Facebook.

The trust distanced itself from the comments and said the matter had been dealt with internally.

simon.bristow@ypn.co.uk

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