The Metropolitan Police have issued a warning to gay men to be more cautious when sending pictures online after a London man was humiliated by an internet sneak.
The two men met on an internet dating site and the victim sent the other man a sexually explicit picture of himself.
When they stopped chatting online, the other man reprinted the image on a poster with libellous text which then printed and distributed around the victim’s apartment block and posted through neighbour’s doors.
The victim was subjected to humiliation and some nasty comments from some neighbours.
He spoke to one of the Met’s LGBT liaison officers, who were able to identify a suspect because the victim had sent the picture to very few people.
The victim had already contacted the website involved and they removed the suspect’s profile in line with their terms and conditions of use.
There were no witnesses or CCTV showing who had distributed the posters, He initially denied involvement, but forensic evidence linked him to the crime.
The suspect has now been cautioned under the 1986 Public Order Act for displaying an abusive and insulting sign with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
The incident highlights that once an image is published on a website, or emailed to another, it is virtually impossible to control it’s further use.
Police have highlighted the case as a cautionary tale and want to remind people to thoroughly read the terms and conditions when signing up for such websites, which have information and guidance on how to use them safely and responsibly.