Leave.EU struck social media gold on Monday. Putting up pictures of a smiling refugee arriving in Britain and a man being arrested by balaclava wearing officers, the pro-Brexit pressure group wrote: “A terror suspect arrested in Poole, Dorset at the weekend looks very similar to one of the 40 year old “child refugees” let in last October”. The post has been shared over 12,600 times on Facebook, and retweeted over 800 times.

There are two problems with this. The first is that there were no “terror” arrests in Poole. The second is that the people in the two photos are not the same person.

The Dorset police force have confirmed to InFacts that the men were arrested in connection with the escape of prisoner Shaun Walmsley. To the best of their knowledge, there were no terror arrests in Dorset.

Moreover, all of the men arrested were Liverpool residents in their mid-20s. Merseyside police have confirmed that none of them were refugees.

Leave.EU knows this. In a comment given to the Mirror, a spokesman for the group said “I got it wrong. Apologies. The danger of Twitter and fake news”, and said the posts would be deleted.

They haven’t been. Nor have they been corrected. “Fake news” indeed.

by Sam Ashworth-Hayes | 07.03.2017

Edited by Hugo Dixon

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