Death threats to mountain bidders

The Westmorland Gazette: Blencathra Blencathra

ALLEGED threatening phone calls and videos sent to senior members of a Lake District action group have prompted a police investigation.

Two of the Friends of Blencathra administration team say they have received anonymous phone calls and what they see as sinister videos over a month-long period.

The group is bidding to buy the iconic Eden mountain from the Earl of Lonsdale.

Cumbria Police said they were not sure if the calls and videos were connected but confirmed they were investigating the allegations and ‘treating them as harassment’.

The force said it was possible they would bring in a specialist hi-tech team – which deals with internet and telecommunications cases – to help with the investigation.

The alleged harrassment left one recipient and their family feeling scared to leave their home.

Both alleged victims wish to remain anonymous.

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During one video, sent from a YouTube account, a man pretends to garrotte a victim before dumping his body in a bin in scenes reminiscent of the movie Hitman. It is thought whoever sent the video copied it from another YouTube channel.

The other video, sent from another account, shows a group of people in a rural, mountainous location with the caption: “In our national forests there are currently 400 unsolved cases of missing persons. Often the bodies are never found.” It appears to be a montage of clips from several feature films and is designed to look like a movie trailer.

The recipients say that during many of the telephone calls, the caller has remained silent but refused to hang up.

But in one call the recipient claimed to have been told to ‘back off’ from trying to register Blencathra as an Asset of Community Value.

The recipient told the Gazette the mystery caller said they knew where they lived, worked and even how much they owed on their house to the nearest pound before telling them to ‘consider your own future’.

The person told the Gazette: “I don’t know where these threats are coming from, we’ve just got to wait and see what the police say because they’re obviously taking it seriously. It made me feel uncomfortable and annoyed that someone could be so horrible to us when we are trying to do nothing but good. It has made my resolve stronger to do things for others instead of scaring me away. I now hang up every time I get a ‘no words’ call.”

And the other recipient said: “My partner and I are frightened about what it could lead to. I certainly don’t feel comfortable or safe leaving the house anymore.”

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