An American politician has been forced to apologise for using an unflattering image of an Essex village to warn voters about the consequences of not supporting Donald Trump.
Republican Nick Stella’s Facebook page posted a bleak picture of Jaywick Sands showing unpaved roads and dilapidated homes ahead of the US midterm elections on Tuesday.
A message with it read: “Only you can stop this from becoming reality.”
The page now appears to have been deleted from Facebook after Essex residents expressed their anger over the post.
Spokeswoman Raquel Mitchell said: “Our intent was never to smear the town in the photo, now known to us as Jaywick Sands in Essex.
“We never used the name. For us it was an example of a town overburdened by poor governance, which is exactly what we in our district are seeking to prevent at every level.”
The page also attacked Mr Stella’s opponent in Illinois and added: “Help President Trump keep America on Track and Thriving.
“We can’t go back to foreclosures, unemployment and economic recession!”
Jaywick, near Clacton-on-Sea, was England’s most deprived neighbourhood in 2015, a UK government report found.
The seaside village, which often floods, had chronic levels of unemployment, high levels of crime and poor educational attainment.
Jaywick councillor Kevin Watson said the image used was an old one of the Brooklands area of the village.
He said: “All the roads down there have been tarmacked, there’s now fantastic drainage, people are taking pride in their area.
“Things are looking very good in Jaywick, probably the best since it was a holiday destination.
“I’m sure there are quite a few places in America that are just as bad.”
Penelope Read, who made a 2016 documentary called Jaywick: A Diamond In The Rough, said she was annoyed the image was used.
The 70-year-old said: “I’m angry at the injustice. I love Jaywick and I don’t think foreign people should be using our village as a political tool. How dare they?
“Leadership matters, and there’s proof all around the world that with the right people in place, conditions can improve. And I’m glad that Jaywick Sands now shares a similar success story.”
Businessman Frank Stedman turned Jaywick into a cheap holiday destination for London’s east enders in the 1920s and 1930s after buying lots of land and building temporary holiday homes.
As people moved there permanently in the 1940s the cheaply built homes struggled to cope.