A MOTHER who posted threats over Facebook has been hit with an Asbo stopping her from sending abusive messages via social media sites.
Nikola Graham was handed the antisocial behaviour order after several complaints about the threats were made to council chiefs, who took the matter to court.
Now the 33-year-old, who also sent abuse via text messages, will be arrested if she violates the court order against making threats “verbally, in writing or electronically”.
It is believed to be the first time in the Lothians that an Asbo has banned an individual from posting abuse on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Police have recorded nearly 90 crimes involving Facebook during the last two years, including a dozen cases where threats were made. New figures today revealed that the number of offences involving the social network soared to 55 last year, compared with 34 during 2010.
Graham mounted the terror campaign against a fellow resident in Haddington, East Lothian, which was investigated by the local authority’s antisocial behaviour team.
Police said today that no criminal charges had been brought against Graham over the incidents, but warned “robust action” would be taken against “threatening behaviour online”.
Complaints about Graham’s behaviour in and around her address in Glebe Terrace date back to July 2010.
The Asbo granted at Haddington Sheriff Court also bans her from physically assaulting any person, shouting, swearing or making excessive noise in her home, and runs for three years.
In addition, she is prohibited from shouting, swearing or verbally abusing any other person in the town.
A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “She is well-known as a troublemaker. Most people like me try to steer clear of her.
“I’m not surprised she got an Asbo because she’s always causing bother.”
Ludovic Broun-Lindsay, Tory councillor for the Haddington and Lammermuir ward, said: “Such messages are the modern equivalent of a poison pen letter but much more instant.
“These orders are not given out easily. An established pattern of behaviour has to be built up.”
East Lothian Council’s antisocial behaviour team worked with police to compile a dossier of evidence for the case against Graham.
A council spokeswoman said: “This clearly shows that antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated in East Lothian. I hope this will send a clear message to Ms Graham that she must change her behaviour.”
A breach of an Asbo can be punished by a prison sentence.
A police spokesman said: “We would urge anyone who observes such [threatening] behaviour to come forward and report the matter.”
Graham would not comment on the Asbo at her home yesterday.
PERVERTS CAUGHT IN THE ACT
AMONG the criminal offences involving Facebook has been the “grooming” of children for sexual abuse.
Hearts player Craig Thomson, 21, was put on the sex offenders register last June after he was caught preying on girls on the internet.
The player engaged in sexual conversations with the girls, aged 12 and 14, over Facebook, e-mail and webcams.
The first girl was 13 when approached online. Although she had her age and date of birth on her Facebook profile, Thomson engaged her in sexual chat.
After she turned 14, he told her he wanted to have sex with her and sent her a photo of male private parts.
Last October, Sean Ness, 25, of Inchview, Prestonpans, was jailed for 34 months for having sex with a 13-year-old girl he groomed through the site.