Boy, 12, arrested after racist messages sent to footballer Wilfried Zaha

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Police investigating a series of racist messages sent to a Premier League footballer have arrested a 12-year-old boy.

On Sunday, West Midlands Police said they were looking into messages sent to Crystal Palace player Wilfried Zaha’s Instagram account.

Zaha, who also plays for the Ivory Coast national team, posted screenshots of the messages he received on his Twitter on Sunday morning with the caption: “Woke up to this today.”

The 27-year-old had been sent racist imagery as well as abusive messages.

“You better not score tomorrow you black c***,” one read.

That was followed by a second message reading: “Or I’ll come to your house dressed as a ghost.”

The force told Zaha they were looking into the account holder and encouraged him to report it to his local police force.

On Sunday afternoon, West Midlands Police confirmed they had arrested a boy from Warwickshire after examining the messages.

They tweeted: “We were alerted to a series of racist messages sent to a footballer today and after looking into them and conducting checks, we have arrested a boy.

“The 12-year-old from Solihull has been taken to custody.

“Thanks to everyone who raised it. Racism won’t be tolerated.”

Palace manager Roy Hodgson earlier praised the player for going public having been the target of “cowardly and despicable” racist abuse.

After Zaha posted the messages on social media, anti-discrimination campaigners Kick It Out tweeted: “We are extremely disappointed that Wilf Zaha has once again been the subject of targeted racial abuse.

“Those who continue to select professional sportspeople in this way, need to be brought to justice and face the strongest consequences #KickItOut.”

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