Police probe online comments amid newsagent row

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Police were called to the Hardshaw Centre this morning after a newsagent’s refusal to serve a uniformed soldier sparked a protest.

Officers were called to Alpha News at about 11am and are now investigating a series of “offensive and threatening” comments made towards the business on social media websites.

A force spokeswoman said: “Police are monitoring the situation and the owner of the business is helping officers with their inquiries.

“Although we have not received a report of complaint from the shop, a full investigation into the wider comments being made is underway by the SIGMA team in St Helens.

“Police are looking into whether any of these comments constitute a criminal offence under the Malicious Communications and Public Order Acts.”

She added: “Merseyside Police will continue to use all the available technology and expertise at its disposal to identify people who commit offences online and take action under the current laws.

“People should stop and think on social media before making statements as the consequences could be serious.

High-visibility patrols have been stepped up in the area to reassure local businesses and shoppers.”