A roofer has told of his shock after an innocent mistake ended with him being branded a robber on social media.
Reputable Graham McGough, 63, who runs Mirfield-based GM Roofing, carries out much work in the Asian community.
Last week he got a call to look at a potential job at a house in Suffolk Avenue, Batley, but ended up knocking at the wrong door in nearby Suffolk Street.
There was no answer and as he came away from the house he noticed two men taking pictures in his direction.
He thought nothing more about it until a couple of days later a customer phoned him and said his white Iveco van was all over social media, branding him a suspect over a series of violent raids in the Asian community.
“I thought they were joking at first,” said Graham, a roofer for 30 years. “But they said my van was on there and I couldn’t believe it.”
Then last Thursday, Graham and son Richard, 25, were working in North King Street, off Taylor Street, Batley, when their van started to attract unwanted attention.
“Two lads came over – both nice lads and no hassle – but they said ‘your van has been involved in robberies in Savile Town’ and showed us a picture on his phone,” said Graham.
“The next thing another three cars rolled up and blocked us in. We couldn’t have gone anywhere if we had wanted to.
“Fortunately we were able to explain what had happened and they were very apologetic and told us they would put it right.”
The men asked Graham to appear in a video clip on social network WhatsApp so they could prove he was completely innocent.
The video was also shared on Facebook with a request to send it “viral.”
Graham admitted he feared the worse when his van was surrounded and said: “It could have gone either way.
“They could have beaten us up and smashed the van and asked questions later.”
To show there were no hard feelings Graham attended a meeting at Savile Town Community Centre on Thursday night called to discuss the series of violent raids on vulnerable Asian families.
“I thought I would show my face and everybody was coming up to me and shaking my hand and I’ve had some lovely messages of support,” he said.
“They called me a celebrity but I don’t want to be that kind of celebrity!”