Police on both sides of the border are investigating a racist message which appears to have been sent from a Fife man’s Instagram account to a high-profile footballer.
Middlesbrough winger Yannick Bolasie has thanked people for their support after receiving the vile abuse earlier this week from a man living in Kirkcaldy.
Bolasie, 31, who is currently on loan from Premier League side Everton, shared a screenshot of the message – which had called him a n****r – on his Twitter page, and branded the culprit a “keyboard warrior”.
Tweeting an emoji of a rat, the DR Congo star added: “Something seriously wrong with people…Keyboard warriors.
“Still yet to meet a person who had this energy when they saw me.”
Bolasie followed that up on Thursday night with another tweet recognising the outpouring of support he has had since bringing the abuse to light.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve received something like this but hopefully will be the last,” he added.
Instagram say the account which sent abuse to Bolasie – registered to a user in Kirkcaldy – has now been blocked from sending messages “for a set period of time”, adding that the user’s account would be removed if they continued to violate their policies or attempted to set up another account to get around the restriction.
However, the matter may not end there as both Cleveland Police and Police Scotland are probing the circumstances surrounding the abusive communication.
A Cleveland Police spokesperson: “Cleveland Police are aware of racial abuse on Twitter and a crime has been recorded.
“Officers are making enquiries.
“However, at this stage no formal complaint has been received.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson added: “We are aware of the matter and looking into it.”
Bolasie’s parent club Everton said in a statement: “Everton has a zero-tolerance approach to any kind of racism or discrimination.
“There is no room for racism in football or society. By working together, we can fight discrimination wherever it exists.
“Everybody has a part to play and social media abuse should never go unreported. We also urge social media platforms to strengthen measures to prevent this kind of behaviour.
“Through challenging it and reporting it, we can all play a part in changing it.”
Middlesbrough also added their concerns and vowed to take action against racism in any form.
Their statement read: “The racial abuse directed to Yannick Bolasie on social media is vile and unacceptable, and demonstrates exactly why more has to be done to identify the perpetrators of such comments and to bring them to justice.
“The matter has been reported to the relevant authorities by both Yannick and ourselves and he has our full support.
“It is of great concern to the club that we are witnessing behaviour of this type and it cannot be allowed to continue.”