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.
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, 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.
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
‘We now have one man in custody and our investigation continues. If you think you have information on this post, we’d like to hear from you on 0161 856 4973, quoting incident number 109 of 12/7/2021.
‘You can also anonymously contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Anyone who has been a victim, or witness of hate crime, please do report it at your earliest opportunity, using 101, LiveChat or online at gmp.police.uk. Alternatively you can visit www.letsendhatecrime.com.’
Savills said Bone has been suspended pending the outcome of the force’s 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.
England’s Bukayo Saka applauds fans after the Euro 2020 final against Italy at Wembley Stadium on Sunday night
Marcus Rashford (left) and Jadon Sancho (right) also faced racist abuse after missing their penalties in the final on Sunday
‘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.’