1 Offence of sending letters etc. with intent to cause distress or anxiety.

(1)Any person who sends to another person—
(a)a [F1letter, electronic communication or article of any description] which conveys—
(i)a message which is indecent or grossly offensive;
(ii)a threat; or
(iii)information which is false and known or believed to be false by the sender; or
(b)any [F2article or electronic communication] which is, in whole or part, of an indecent or grossly offensive nature,
is guilty of an offence if his purpose, or one of his purposes, in sending it is that it should, so far as falling within paragraph (a) or (b) above, cause distress or anxiety to the recipient or to any other person to whom he intends that it or its contents or nature should be communicated.
(2)A person is not guilty of an offence by virtue of subsection (1)(a)(ii) above if he shows—
(a)that the threat was used to reinforce a demand [F3made by him on reasonable grounds]; and
(b)that he believed [F4, and had reasonable grounds for believing,] that the use of the threat was a proper means of reinforcing the demand.
[F5(2A)In this section “electronic communication” includes—
(a)any oral or other communication by means of a telecommunication system (within the meaning of the Telecommunications Act 1984 (c. 12)); and
(b)any communication (however sent) that is in electronic form.]
(3)In this section references to sending include references to delivering [F6or transmitting] and to causing to be sent [F7, delivered or transmitted] and “sender” shall be construed accordingly.
(4)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to [F8imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both].

Amendments (Textual)
F1Words in s. 1(1)(a) substituted (11.5.2001) by 2001 c. 16, ss. 43(1)(a), 138(2)

F2Words in s. 1(1)(b) substituted (11.5.2001) by 2001 c. 16, ss. 43(1)(b), 138(2)

F3Words in s. 1(2)(a) substituted (11.5.2001) by 2001 c. 16, ss. 43(2)(a), 138(2)

F4Words in s. 1(2)(b) substituted (11.5.2001) by 2001 c. 16, ss. 43(2)(b), 138(2)

F5S. 1(2A) inserted (11.5.2001) by 2001 c. 16, ss. 43(3), 138(2)

F6Words in s. 1(3) inserted (11.5.2001) by 2001 c. 16, ss. 43(4)(a), 138(2)

F7Words in s. 1(3) substituted (11.5.2001) by 2001 c. 16, ss. 43(4)(b), 138(2)

F8Words in s. 1(4) substituted (11.5.2001) by virtue of 2001 c. 16, ss. 43(5)(6), 138(2)