POLICE have launched an investigation after hate mail was sent to staff at a town council.

Spennymoor Town Council contacted Durham police after a "very threatening letter" was sent to officers at Spennymoor Town Hall, in County Durham, last week.

It is understood that the note was addressed to town clerk Katherine Hierons and the threats referred to both her and the authority’s facilities manager Colin Ranson.

Councillor Ian Geldard, lead member for council policy and infrastructure, said the writer made false allegations which had also appeared on social media.

It follows weeks of heated discussion on the Spennymoor Whistleblower Facebook group which claims to be a group created to ‘highlight the failings and bias of Spennymoor Town Council towards local businesses’.

Speaking about the letter, Cllr Geldard said: “It also contained a physical threat intent on intimidating the officers in question, and demanding they leave the authority; suggesting they return to a place where neither of them have previously lived.

“The council has a duty of care towards all of our employees, and therefore we will not tolerate such threats.

“The police and appropriate authorities have been informed, and an investigation is expected into both this letter and the Spennymoor Whistleblower page."

Cllr Geldard added:“Those responsible for this correspondence clearly blame officers for council decisions, and their blame is misplaced.

“The council makes it clear that decisions are taken by the council itself, and by its standing committees.

"Officers simply provide advice to councillors in taking these decisions.”

A spokeswoman for Durham Constabulary said: “We are aware of the letter and enquiries are ongoing.”