Property tycoon contacts police over online abuse
Millionaire landlord Fergus Wilson has called in police after receiving abusive online messages in the wake of him banning “coloureds” from renting his homes because of curry smells.
The 69-year-old says he has received grossly offensive comments after the story broke last week.
Messages included doctored pictures of him and wife Judith with an estate agent’s board suggesting they would only rent properties to 2% of the population he found “acceptable”.
Another poster t ook to YouTube and in a lengthy post on the issue, using derogatory words about the property mogul, who owns hundreds of houses in Ashford and Maidstone.
Mr Wilson, pictured, of Boughton Monchelsea, said: “I believe these messages are a crime and that’s why I brought it to the police, but I don’t know how they will trace these people.”
“To me it is the choice of words that make these grossly offensive and they have been published in the public domain.”
A police spokesman said the force was aware and will be working to establish if any criminal offences have taken place. Mr Wilson has repeatedly insisted his stance is not racist and said the issue was with curry cooking, stains and smells not the ethnicity of those renting his homes.
He said he would make the same decision if he experienced similar issues with white people and claims takeaway Indian food presents no problems.
His move has drawn the attention of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which says it will take legal action after the tycoon stood by his policy.
He said some of his houses needed to be cleaned with chemicals while, in extreme cases, carpets had been replaced due to the curry issue.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “These are truly disgusting remarks as well as being unlawful instructions from a landlord to a letting agent.
“There are still deep inequalities in our society as our race report demonstrated and these comments show why.
“We will investigate and will be asking Mr Wilson to explain his actions. Unless we are satisfied that he will not break the law in the future we will take legal action.”
Earlier this year he issued a directive banning tenants with children under 18, single adults, “battered wives”, pets and people on benefits among others.