A teenager was being quizzed by police yesterday on suspicion of posting a photo of a poppy being burned on Facebook.
Linney House, 19, was arrested on Remembrance Sunday after the image of a Royal British Legion paper poppy being held to a cigarette lighter was posted online.
Underneath was written: “How about that you squadey c**ts.”
The teenager from Aylesham, near Canterbury, Kent, was taken into custody on suspicion of malicious telecommunications and was due to be interviewed.
A spokesman for Kent Police say they were contacted at 4pm on Sunday just hours after a touching Armistice Day service was held in the suspect’s village.
The picture was spotted online before a number of calls were made to police.
A local man said the arrest had shocked the community, whose families have hundreds of links to military serviceman, past and present.
A spokesman for Kent Police said: “A man is due to be interviewed by police this morning following reports that a picture of a burning poppy had been posted on a social media website.
“Officers were contacted at around 4pm yesterday and alerted to the picture, which was reportedly accompanied by an offensive comment.
“Following an investigation by Kent Police, a 19-year-old Canterbury man was arrested on suspicion of an offence under the Malicious Communications Act. He is currently in custody.”
The poppy is an international symbol of remembrance for soldiers who have died during wartime.
The arrest came after dozens of services were held across the country to mark Remembrance Sunday.
Following the posting an online hate campaign lead by the English Defence League outted the teenager as ‘Linny “Power” House’ – attaching his personal contact details to the burning poppy image.
They captioned the photo: “If anyone wonders why the English Defence League take to the streets and protest against those who disrespect our country’s way of life and Laws.”
Naked pictures from the suspect’s social media pages were also posted as a wave of public anger appeared to mount against him following the allegations.
Controversially, Australian comedian Tim Minchin appeared to shrug off the act by writing: “To clarify: You’ve a right to burn a (fake!) poppy. Whether I agree with the action is utterly irrelevant. Kent police are out of line.
“We’ve a right to express loathing. There are folk on the web saying they want to kill me. Wish they wouldn’t, but don’t want them arrested.”
He then wrote: “People tweeting me with reasons why the guy was morally wrong. IT ISN’T RELEVANT. He’s allowed to be a dick. It’s a f*cking democracy.”
He added: “My personal (irrelevant to the issue) view is: The poppy – for good or bad – is a marketing tool. I mourn the victims of war flowerless.
“… but I’d personally not burn a poppy on remembrance day. (I was at a Hope For Heroes charity thingy). G’night bitches. x”