Home of Middlesbrough's former Premiership referee raided over website allegation (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Home of Middlesbrough's former Premiership referee raided over website allegation
SCOTTISH police have raided the home of one of the region’s most famous former referees following an allegation he made offensive comments on his website.
Former Premier League referee Jeff Winter, of Ingleby Barwick, near Stockton, a Glasgow Rangers fan, is accused of making sectarian comments.
Officers from Strathclyde Police’s football co-ordination unit, acting under warrant, searched the 56-year-old’s home and seized equipment, thought to include a computer.
A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police said the raid took place at about 8am on Tuesday and added: “The search is part of an ongoing inquiry in connection with alleged offensive comments posted on a website.”
The spokeswoman said a further operation in London resulted in one man being detained by police and later released without charge. It is thought the other man helped to run Mr Winter’s website.
Mr Winter, who lives with wife, Lynette, 49, has not been charged with any offence and was believed to be out of the country yesterday.
Earlier this year he said he was seeking legal advice in connection with the accusations.
Some reports in the Scottish media suggest Mr Winter may not have made the comments, despite them appearing on his website.
An investigation was launched after comments appeared on the Mr Winter’s blog on his website last December after Celtic beat Rangers.
Mr Winter has been accused of making inflammatory comments about the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church.
On his pre-season entry on his website he took on the issue of online name-calling. He said: “After much adverse publicity, you might think the ‘sledging’ and name calling might also cease but again I don’t think so.
“Social networking has only assisted the cowards to throw abuse at people they have not even met. I know from bitter experience.”
Mr Winter, also a Middlesbrough supporter who also follows the fortunes of Hartlepool and Darlington, retired from top league officiating after 2004 when he refereed the FA Cup final between Manchester United and Millwall. He now works as a television pundit and afterdinner speaker.