Several Derry City & Strabane District Councillors have confirmed they have received prank calls in the early hours of the morning over the weekend, with at least one local representative also being sent deliveries he did not order.
A number of Sinn Féin SDLP, DUP and Independent Councillors have confirmed they have been targeted, and it understood some are now considering contacting the authorities if the offenders do not quit.
In some instances over the weekend, the caller claimed to be another sitting Councillor, who, as it turns out, has himself been targeted.
SDLP Strabane Councillor Jason Barr said he was contacted at 5.45am on Saturday and again twice on Sunday by a young man claiming to be another Councillor and rambling about various matters including RHI and a meeting in Area 51.
He said that the calls were obviously being placed by hoaxsters as there was laughing in the background- something other elected representatives also confirmed.
Colr. Barr said he had also received three deliveries of alcohol and a take-away he did not order on Sunday, with the prank caller using three different taxi firms to deliver the items, and then calling back later to ask if he enjoyed the food and drink.
Another Councillor and his young family meanwhile were awoken while on holiday.
Colr. Barr said: “He speaks and rambles away. It’s a bit of a nuisance and if it happens again we will have to look at it.
“I would urge whoever is behind it to stop as they are wasting their own time.”
Several local Councillors work in the undertaking business and said they are used to getting calls at night in situations where someone has passed away.
Independent Colr. Sean Carr said at first he thought this what the case when he was contacted, but quickly realised the person “ranting” on the other end of the line was not a genuine caller.
Colr. Carr said that in his years as a Councillor he has never had anything like this happen before.
Sinn Féin council group leader Sandra Duffy urged those behind the prank calls to desist. Colr. Duffy said: “Our phone numbers are in the public domain for constituency services and to help people in their hour of need, many times at unsociable hours.
“We don’t want a scenario where Councillors’ phone numbers would have to be removed or withdrawn from the public domain. I would appeal to this individual to show a bit of common sense and stop this carry on.”