Knife threat after claims debunked

An anonymous caller threatened to visit the offices of the Barking & Dagenham Post with a knife after the paper published a front-page splash debunking negative claims made about the impact of immigrants on the area.

During the recent local elections, Barking and Dagenham attracted national publicity because of predictions that the British National Party would gain seats.

Editor Barry Kirk wrote there was an "astounding lack of actual facts" in the problems people were talking about in the community, and that they sounded as if they had come from "a bloke down the pub".

The paper followed this up with a front-page picture of someone dressed as ‘a man down the pub'.

The man claimed that 50 per cent of the local population were from an ethnic minority, African people got paid £50,000 to move there from other boroughs, council homes were being given to refugees first and swans were being slain for food by immigrants.

Kirk said the paper countered the claims: "Rather than going for anyone in the area, we reported the facts. We went through the public records and published a list of these facts on page three.

"A man rang up and told me to put the truth in the paper. He started getting aggressive and said he was coming down here with a knife. I said to him, ‘Oh well fair enough, come on down then, you know where we are — right next door to the community police station.'

"We have a lot of people calling here and letting off steam. I didn't believe he would come here and carry out the threat."

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