Council computer used to bombard workers with porn

Cameron House. Picture: Scot Taylor
Cameron House. Picture: Scot Taylor
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PORN sent to individuals with close links to a whistleblower came from a council computer, the Evening News can reveal.

The obscene images – allegedly e-mailed as part of an intimidation campaign – were found to have been sent from a council IP address. It is also understood a man was interviewed under caution by police in connection with the obscene material being sent but no charges were brought and no disciplinary action was taken against him.

These are the latest revelations in the long-running row over alleged dirty tricks linked to historic claims of fraud at an arms-length council company.

A whistleblower alleged in 2002 that nearly £400,000 had been mis-spent at Edinburgh Lifelong Learning Partnership (ELLP) and Cityconnect, its IT and social inclusion project.

The Evening News revealed last week that the council had decided to reopen an investigation into the fraud allegations after it emerged that the informant was never interviewed about his claims.

But the case has also been linked to alleged dirty tricks at Cameron House community centre in Prestonfield, where close associates of the whistleblower worked.

It is claimed staff were bombarded with pornography as part of a ten-year campaign of intimidation and harassment.

Auditors conducting an internal council investigation were told employees had been sent torrents of pornography by e-mail, had their personnel records tampered with and were victims of anonymous online abuse.

The council staff who supported the whistleblower’s complaints are understood to have received dozens of e-mails, often on a daily basis, featuring hardcore porn images and links to adult sites.

“This was just the most unpleasant stuff imaginable,” said a source close to the investigation. “It just came day after day and appears to have been part of a wider plan to make life as uncomfortable as possible for the individuals involved.”

The staff involved believe it was part of an attempt to intimidate them into keeping silent. One woman who was sent porn said the matter was reported to the police in 2005 and a man was interviewed under caution, but detectives decided there was not enough evidence to charge him. She said no disciplinary action was taken against the man.

The council declined to comment on the revelation about the IP address and would not confirm whether a man had been interviewed by police in connection with the sending of obscene material.

A council spokesman said: “The council’s report into allegations of wrongdoing at Cameron House has been made public as part of our commitment to being open and transparent. We will now work together with a number of people including the Cameron House management committee in drawing up an action plan looking at issues raised in the report and any wider issues raised by the committee. The council treats allegations of wrongdoing extremely seriously and will not hesitate to take immediate action.”