Under the banner headline "Police reassure residents they are working to keep county safe", Essex police proudly proclaimed that they arrested a 20-year-old man from Colchester who "allegedly sent messages from a Blackberry encouraging people to join in a water fight."
The man has been charged with encouraging or assisting in the commission of an indictable only offence under the Serious Crime Act 2007, Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Maurice Mason blogged.
Hang on, we'll just repeat a bit of that: "Sent messages from a Blackberry encouraging people to join in a water fight."
A "water fight"!
We have no doubt that residents of Essex a now sleeping more soundly in their beds, safe in the knowledge that naughty young people won't be out and about shooting water pistols at each other - or worse, lobbing balloons filled with water at one another.
The man has been conditionally bailed to appear at Colchester Magistrates' Court on September 1.
Acting Assistant Chief Constable Mason writes: "There has been no large scale disorder in Essex akin to what has been happening in London but Essex Police has extra resources in place to deal with violent disorder should it arise in the county."
These extra resources have evidently been deployed on FaceBook. "Officers have been offering support to colleagues in the Metropolitan Police Service and have vowed to take a robust approach to anyone who uses social networking sites to stimulate fictitious rumours," Mason writes, in what is one of the most flabbergasting piece of buffoonery we have yet seen.
It appears that after some vehicles had been damaged in Harlow, so a teenage boy was charged with inciting violent disorder on a social media website. The 16-year-old boy was arrested at his home in Harlow on August 10 and was later charged with encouraging or assisting in violent disorder under the Serious Crime Act 2007.
In further evidence of the police's stay-at-home tactics, officers arrested a 17-year-old Clacton man for incitement to commit violent disorder on August 9 after comments were published on Facebook encouraging people to gather at a location in Essex and cause disorder. The man has been released on bail until August 23, 2011 while investigations continue, Mason writes.
Three further young men from Essex have also arrested for "using social networking sites to encourage others to gather together and cause disorder".
"Police will continue to monitor social networking sites for unlawful activity," Mason notes.
The message to young men is clear: rather than sitting at home on your PC making stuff up, you'll be safer wandering round the streets in a hood.