THERE is no doubt feelings are running high in Barrow.

Serious allegations of sexual and physical abuse have been made against local businessmen and the community is angry and demanding action.

While we understand this is to be completely expected – we must remember the only place a crime can be tried in a civilised society is in the law courts.

There is no conspiracy between the press and the police to cover up crimes – in fact that could not be further from the truth.

The UK law dictates strict rules the press, including The Mail, must follow when reporting ongoing legal proceedings such as these.

Often The Mail team knows much more than what we are legally allowed to publish but we are duty bound to follow rules so not to prejudice ongoing police investigations or court cases.

The Mail: Vanessa Sims, Editor The Mail

We follow these rules to ensure no case gets thrown out of court because of details printed in the local press.

Yes this can be frustrating. Never more so than when the community we work tirelessly to represent turn upon us.

The increasing levels of abuse, intimidation and threats the team at The Mail have received are completely unacceptable.

We are simply doing our jobs. We have no control over who the Crown Prosecution Service charge, the focus of an investigation or the outcome of any cases.

We are aware of numerous social media posts sharing text message evidence and would urge those in possession to share them with detectives.

It is the police who investigate crime, gather evidence and present that to the courts.

All The Mail and its reporters can do is report the different stages of that investigation. And yes that might not always be palatable to the community. But there is never an excuse for a gang of 12 men to gathering outside The Mail offices shouting intimidating slurs and demands upon my reporters.

Or for defamatory comments or threats of violence to be made on social media or sent to a reporter directly for simply doing her job.

We will NOT accept this and will take legal action against those who persist.

We hugely sympathise with all victims of crime and want to share their stories and campaign on their behalf to help others.

But we must remember this case has yet to appear before the courts and the evidence be heard by an independent judge and jury.

Over the last 24 hours there has been numerous comments about how The Mail should close – but without the paper the community we work so hard to represent would be much worse off.

Gone would be the days of celebrating and championing the work of the community, NHS workers or keyworkers, detailed access court or inquest reports would cease, investigations such as the Morecambe Bay baby scandal or the urology scandal would go unexposed, and the thousands of people who turned to us for trusted news and details of how the Coronavirus pandemic was effecting Barrow would have nowhere to turn.

Despite the horrific abuse levied at the team we will continue to be professional, committed and dedicated to serving South Cumbria.

To report a crime call police on 999 in an emergency or 101. If you have been a victim of crime there any many charities and services that can help.

Victim Support Supportline: 0333 300 6389 Childline: 0800 1111 Samaritans: 116 123 Domestic Violence Hotline: 0808 2000 247 HOPELINEUK 08000684141 Mind: 0300 123 3393 Age UK: 0800 169 6565 Rape Crisis Helpline: 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30) Victim Support Supportline: 0333 300 6389 The Survivors Trust Helpline: 0808 801 0818 For Men Survivors UK – Male Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Rape Crisis Helpline: 0808 802 9999 (12-2.30 & 7-9.30)