Police in Cannock appeal for calm as tensions rise over asylum seekers

Police have appealed for calm amid rising tensions in Staffordshire over asylum seekers.

Asylum seekers are being temporarily housed in hotels across the country
Asylum seekers are being temporarily housed in hotels across the country

Residents in Cannock have raised fears over crime and anti-social behaviour linked to migrants who are being temporarily housed in two local hotels.

Police have confirmed that one man has been arrested and charged with a "vehicle interference" offence.

But they say they have been unable to substantiate other claims that have circulated on social media – including that asylum seekers had followed young girls and attempted to steal a dog.

It comes ahead of a planned peaceful protest in the town on Saturday.

Staffordshire Police said in a statement: "We’re aware of a number of social media posts and comments on recent posts issued on our Cannock Police Facebook page, regarding a series of alleged suspicious incidents in Cannock involving asylum seekers.

"Three incidents have been officially reported to us, which have been fully investigated. As a result one man has been charged with a vehicle interference offence.

"Other reports, including allegations that young girls have been followed, and an attempted theft of a dog have not been substantiated despite extensive enquiries.

"We have spoken to the people who alerted us to these incidents as well as other local residents, local schools and the local authority.

"To reassure you, we can confirm that no offence - other than the vehicle interference - have been identified.

"We continue to carry out our local policing patrols in the area to ensure we are visible to anyone who may wish to raise any concerns.

"We acknowledge that some people have concerns and that the strength of community feeling is high, but there is no place for hate crime amongst our communities."

The statement adds: "Spreading commentary around concerns which are unsubstantiated and have not been reported to us can escalate feelings further, and we will not tolerate people taking matters into their own hands.

"We will continue to work closely with our communities and partners to monitor key locations, reassure local residents and offer guidance and support to the vulnerable."

Ian Dunn, who has helped to organise Saturday's protest, said: "People in Cannock have had enough and have decided to take a stand."

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