Council may sue to ban disgruntled resident's website

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The Independent Online

A Scottish council is considering legal action to stop a disgruntled resident broadcasting to the world via the Internet that his village is a hellish haven for criminality.

A Scottish council is considering legal action to stop a disgruntled resident broadcasting to the world via the Internet that his village is a hellish haven for criminality.

Matt Rathney-Quinn has opened a website comparing life in his street in the West Lothian village of Addiewell to Òa scene from a junk movie set in the ghettos of New YorkÓ.

The website ÿ called ÒAddiewell: A Total Hell-holeÓ http:// freehomepages.com/addiewell/ ÿ features photographs of young people allegedly throwing stones at Mr Rathney-Quinn's home, drinking alcohol in the street, bullying children and using mobile phones to alert each other to approaching police cars.

ÒLife is a living hell here,Ó Mr Rathney-Quinn writes, Òmade so by the routine abuse of drugs and alcohol and the endemic anti-social behaviour displayed by the locals. Our personal safety is at risk where we live here. We are not able to walk the streets around our homes. Even running out of milk means a two-mile drive instead of a 200-yard walk to the local shops.Ó

Mr Rathney-Quinn says the local council has done nothing about his complaints. He apologises to law-abiding citizens tarred by his accusations, but says to the anti-social elements: ÒThis site exposes you for what you are, a vile cancer which has brought a once proud community to this point.Ó He concludes: ÒI have never in my life seen a level of violence, criminality and sociopathic behaviour as I have witnessed in this tiny hamlet of 1,300 people. After this, Easterhouse [a Glasgow housing estate] seems like sweet suburbia.Ó

A spokesman for West Lothian Council said: ÒAddiewell is a respectable community with decent, hard-working people who have been deeply upset by the allegations made on this website.Ó However, although the website names an individual councillor who may be able to sue for defamation, experts suggest it may otherwise be impossible to suppress it.

Fans of Coronation Street may soon be able to knock on the doors of their favourite characters for a chat by logging on to the Internet. Granada, the television and leisure group which also owns London Weekend Television and Yorkshire Television, is planning a £40m Internet launch for both Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

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