Probe into claims of online 'bullying and intimidation' of City Gardens staff

An investigation has been launched into claims staff members on Aberdeen's City Gardens Project have been bullied and intimidated online.

Police have been called to probe claims that senior figures working on the proposed £140m conversion of the city's Union Terrace Gardens are being targetted.

Tom Smith, director of the Aberdeen City Garden Team, is among those to have made an official complaint.

He said: "We are aware that several people have complained to Grampian Police about certain activities by those objecting to the City Garden Project.

"We believe these complaints are in relation to online bullying and intimidation, email hacking, highly personal attacks and receipt of emails of a menacing or threatening nature.

"I have also made an official complaint."

A Grampian Police spokeswoman confirmed that officers are investigating the claims.

She said: "Enquiries are at an early stage."

Mike Shepherd, chairman of the Friends of Union Terrace Gardens group says his colleagues - against the proposed changes to the gardens - have also received online abuse from a "fringe minority".

He said: "The Friends of Union Terrace Gardens encourage their supporters not to personalise the issue and to stick to debating the facts.

"We will not condone personal abuse by either side.

"There is no need for hysteria in this debate. Let's get things in perspective, one side wants to build a new garden the other to keep an existing park.

"The use of dirty tricks should be put aside so we can have a healthy discussion about how Aberdeen city centre is to look."

A public referendum into the proposals for the city centre garden is currently underway.

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