Police spend FOUR WEEKS tracking down mother, 45, after she made Facebook joke about egging PMDebra Burt, 45, made remark in frustration over government cuts She wrote 'Cameron – I'd like to egg him' on a friend's Facebook wall
Two officers visited her – they had been looking for her for 4 weeks, she said
12:29 GMT, 24 March 2013
00:53 GMT, 25 March 2013
Exasperation: Debra Burt typed 'I'd like to egg him' about David Cameron on her Facebook timeline, only to have police turn up at her door warning her to stay away from him
To Debra Burt, it was no more than an innocent expression of her frustration at Government spending cuts.
She vented her feelings about David Cameron on a friend’s Facebook page with the comment: ‘I’d like to egg him.’
But the mother-of-two was astonished
when two detectives arrived on her doorstep to question her…and
announced they had been trying to track her down for four weeks.
Last night Mrs Burt, 45, accused them of wasting time ‘snooping’ on the social media site.
She said police should ‘go out and fight
real crooks’, adding: ‘I’m not a terrorist. I’m just a middle-aged
woman who made a jokey remark.’
Mrs Burt, of Ramsgate, Kent, said she
had intended her comment as a joke because of her exasperation over cuts
which had left her struggling to find work.
But as police in Kent prepared for last
week’s inauguration of the Archbishop of Canterbury – in front of
invited guests including Mr Cameron – the quip appears to have set off
Two officers knocked on her door the day before the ceremony to assess whether she posed a ‘threat’ to the Prime Minister.
They said they had spent four weeks
looking for her, including scouring her Facebook page, visiting her old
house and calling an out-of-date mobile number, Mrs Burt said.
She said: ‘My heart was pounding. I felt
intimidated. It’s a waste of time. They should be out fighting real
crime. I would like to chuck an egg at him but I’d never do it.
unhappy I can’t find more work.’
Prime Minister David Cameron attending the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Kent, where police feared Mrs Burt might throw an egg
Kent Police refused to comment on
reports they had monitored Facebook ahead of Mr Cameron’s visit last
A spokesman said: ‘As part of the
security plan for the enthronement ceremony…Kent Police responded
to information someone was going to throw an egg at the Prime Minister.
Kent Police visited the person concerned to discuss their concerns and
were satisfied there was no threat.’
Debra Burt made the comments during a conversation about the Prime
Minister's visit to Kent last week to witness the Archbishop of
Canterbury being sworn in
She quipped that she was 'good at throwing eggs' and jokily boasted that she had never missed
Police forces across Britain have faced criticism that they waste time investigating minor squabbles and jokes on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer warned last month that too many such investigations would have a ‘chilling effect’ on freedom of speech.
Prosecutions for crimes involving social media sites have increased almost nine-fold in the last four years, for offences from harassment to grooming and abuse.
But there has been concern over some cases.
Last year a man convicted for joking on Twitter about blowing up an airport had his conviction overturned on appeal.
And the DPP decided not to take action
against a Welsh footballer who made a homophobic comment on Twitter
about Olympic divers Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield.
Mr Starmer said the ‘misguided’ tweet
was meant as a joke but warned internet ‘trolls’ who carried out
targeted malicious campaigns would still face prosecution.