Panic in Lancashire as landlord is asked to remove sign advertising for Pakistani families only


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The Independent Online

A landlord was ordered by police to remove a sign seeking Pakistani families only to rent his terraced house.

The handwritten notice, which appeared in a property in Railway Street in Nelson, Lancashire, was condemned by community leaders and the town’s MP who said they feared it could inflame community tensions in the area.

Police and local MP Andrew Stephenson said they had received a dozen complaints about the hastily scribbled to-let sign, which said “For Rent, 3 Bedrooms, Just Pakistani Family" and included a mobile number.

The landlord, who has not been named, agreed to remove it and acknowledged its wording was “inappropriate”.

Lancashire Police said no crime had been committed and the matter would not be pursued.

Among those to complain about the sign was BNP leader Nick Griffin who posted a picture of himself on the party’s website standing next to the house earlier this month during his ill-fated European election campaign.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said the sign was “deeply offensive” and described it as “discrimination from a bygone era”.

He added: "This kind of thing has the potential to inflame tensions in the community. My office was contacted by British people, as well as eastern European families, who were unhappy with the sign. I also spoke to Asian families who couldn't believe what they had seen.”

Inspector Paul Goodall, of Pendle Police, said although it was not criminal the advert could be deemed “distasteful or inappropriate”.

“The landlord hasn’t committed any offences, and when we went round and asked him to take it down, he said ‘fair enough’ and took it down. We spoke to him and gave him some advice, and were satisfied it was not intended with any sort of malice. It was, in his opinion, to have some nice residents in the area,” he said.

Local ward councillor Nadeem Ahmed condemned the advert. He said: “It’s totally wrong, and I’m glad the police have got him to take it down. They probably realised they shouldn’t have put it up when the officers went over. We try to live together and do the right thing, and make a world for our children where everyone can live together happily, and these kind of things are divisive.”

According to the last Census around 11,000 of the Nelson’s 29,000 population are of Pakistani descent.