Estate agent arrested over racist tweet sent to England footballers

Property manager claims his Twitter account was hacked

Police have arrested an estate agent from Manchester who allegedly posted a racist tweet about black England football players after the side’s defeat to Italy.

Andrew Bone, 37, presented himself to a police station on Wednesday and was arrested on suspicion of sending malicious communications. He was later released pending the outcome of an investigation.

Bone’s employer, Savills estate agency, said he claimed his Twitter account was taken over by a third party.

Earlier, police officers were seen at his home collecting evidence.

Greater Manchester Police said the suspect was questioned by detectives and released under investigation.

“The actions of a small number of people overshadowed what was a hugely unifying event for our country on Sunday evening,” the force said.

“We are firm in our commitment, any racist abuse whether online or off, is not acceptable.”

The racist message was allegedly posted soon after Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho all missed their penalties in Sunday's Euro 2020 final.

The post was later deleted and Bone called on the police to investigate. The estate agent's Twitter and LinkedIn pages have also been removed.

Savills said Bone, a commercial buildings manager, had been suspended from his job.

“'Savills confirms that the staff member connected with the racist comments placed on Twitter claims that his account was taken over by a third party and that the matter is being referred to the Greater Manchester Police,” the estate agency said.

'Savills has acted swiftly and confirms that the individual is suspended from duty pending the findings of this investigation, which is being progressed as a priority.”

There has been an outpouring of support for England players targeted by racist abuse after the final.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who met tech company bosses on Tuesday, said leading social media companies needed to step up action against perpetrators or face huge fines.

Mr Johnson was forced to defend his government against accusations of encouraging poor behaviour of fans, saying “we made it absolutely clear that no one should boo the England team".

Meanwhile, hundreds rallied in support of Rashford in his home town of Withington in Manchester, where a mural of the footballer had been daubed with offensive graffiti.

Updated: July 14th 2021, 4:04 PM