POLICE are investigating after trainspotter with learning difficulties was wrongly branded a sex offended on Facebook.

North Yorkshire Police have launched an investigation into malicious communication after a member of the public uploaded a photo of a York man onto Facebook and publicly branded him a sex offender.

It followed an incident in a church car park in Holgate Road the previous day when officers received a report of man in some bushes using binoculars.

Officers attended the scene of the incident and established that it was a man with learning disabilities who was train spotting.

The Facebook post has since attracted hundreds of abusive comments and a police spokesman said: "While the member of the public was right to call the police about suspicious behaviour, uploading a photo of him and wrongly calling him a sex offender was extremely irresponsible.

"The incident has caused extreme distress to the man and his family, and officers have now launched an investigation into malicious communication.

"Our advice to members of the public is to pause before you post and think of the potential consequences of uploading spurious and malicious messages and the devastating effect it can have on its victims."