COUNCIL leader Stephen McCabe has revealed how he sought help from the police 'several times' after receiving abuse in the post and online.

Stephen McCabe said he had been sent a number of threatening messages via social media as well as abusive letters and emails throughout his time as an elected member.

The Labour councillor spoke about his experiences following the tragic death of MP Sir David Amess who was fatally stabbed at a constituency surgery he was hosting in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, last Friday.

The tragedy has sparked questions about security for elected representatives and Cllr McCabe says some elected members may now review surgery arrangements.

Mr McCabe, who has led the local authority for over a decade, said: “I have faced a few difficult situations over the years at surgeries.

“I have also received a lot of abuse on social media, some of which has been quite threatening in nature, as well abusive emails and letters.

“I have had to seek support from the police on a number of occasions.”

The killing of Mr Amess, 69, came just five years after Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered in West Yorkshire.

She was shot and stabbed multiple times by far-right extremist Thomas Mair on her way to meet constituents at an advice surgery in June 2016.

Councillor McCabe found out about Mr Amess’ death during a meeting with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities [COSLA] which had to be paused.

He believes the incident may make some councillors think twice about holding face-to-face surgeries.

But he felt it may be disproportionate to have police attend them.

He told the Telegraph: “The incident with Sir David came as a great shock.

“Such incidents are fortunately rare but when they happen they do bring home to all politicians how potentially vulnerable we are when we hold advice surgeries.

“I think this will make councillors holding surgeries think about what steps they can personally take to ensure their own safety.

“It may also make some wary of holding face-to-face surgeries.

“For many years the police would turn up at councillors’ surgeries to see if we had any issues for them.

"This arrangement was withdrawn due to other demands on police time.

“In an ideal world, it could be reinstated but given incidents at surgeries are rare it wouldn’t necessarily be the best use of resources.”