POLICE are investigating “hate” comments made on the planning section of Thurrock Council’s website.

The comments were made by members of the public in response to an application to legalise a travellers site on Malvern Road in Grays.

Plans for the site, which travellers moved onto in August, were booted out by the council’s planning committee two weeks ago in front of a packed public gallery, many of whom were disgruntled residents from the quiet street in Little Thurrock.

Complaints about comments on the website were made by the travellers to the police and the council, who acted to remove comments.

At the planning meeting on Thursday, October 24, Andrew West, one of the travellers made an impassioned plea for the council to approve the proposals.

Thurrock Chief Inspector Ben Hodder said: “Police are investigating to see if any offences have taken place. They have been recorded as hate incidents, they become hate crimes if we believe an offence has been committed.

“There have been a number of disputes on Malvern Road, one as recently as last week. Police are there to prevent a breach of the police.”

A spokesman for Thurrock Council said: “Immediately following concerns raised by the applicants, the council’s Information Management team reviewed the letters posted online and found two letters that needed further redaction.

“All the letters were removed on Thursday, 17 October to allow time for each to be considered fully and to ensure any inflammatory comments were redacted.

“The letters were then uploaded to the website again.

“As soon as the council was made aware of the applicant’s concerns, immediate action was taken.”