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'Hate Campaign has made me prisoner of my own home'

Sarah Cliss, Fenland Citizen (UK), 30 April 2008

A Wisbech man's life is being made a living hell thanks to an on-going hate campaign which has seen him branded a paedophile.

The 48-year-old factory worker, from Wilberforce Road, is facing losing his job as a result.

Police are investigating a host of incidents ranging from posters being put up around the town making false allegations about Andy Pooley to wreaths being left on his doorstep.

But in fact Mr Pooley has never been in trouble with the police and has no criminal convictions. And his only involvement with police has been over the hate campaign.

The full impact of the campaign, which started back in February, was brought home to him last week when he smiled at a woman as she pushed her child in a pushchair past his home.

"I was sat in the front room on my computer and this young woman was looking into the house and I just smiled at her in a friendly way, but the look of absolute horror on her face was horrible.

"I couldn't understand why she had reacted in that way, then I realised she must have seen the posters which name me and give my full address," he said.

Mr Pooley is also deeply upset at the trouble the harassment is causing other people.

"I have had all kinds of business people turning up on my doorstep. There have been taxi firms, I've had skips, take-aways, a locksmith who 
came all the way from Bourne and a lad who came from Peterborough to pick my car up.

"This isn't funny for them because it is costing them business and it is annoying for me because I have to keep explaining to people what is going on.

"I daren't go out and I have become like a prisoner in my own home because I worry what people are going to say," said Mr Pooley.

But he said people living in his street have been very supportive and have helped remove posters from around the area.

"I haven't lived here very long, I'm the sort of person who keeps myself to myself because I tend to work nights. But people living around here have been very understanding," he said.

However, he has been warned that his job at a local factory is on the line. And he has also felt it necessary to prove he has no criminal record by producing a letter from police for his bosses.

Mr Pooley, who has been working at the factory through an agency, is worried that his personal circumstances could even cost him a permanent job.

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