A WEBSITE used by campaigners fighting to save the Halfway House pub in Box had to be shut down due to concerns that the content was 'damaging, false and offensive'.

Pub owners the Novalis Trust instructed lawyers to contact the internet service provider which was hosting SaveTheHalfwayHouse.com.

It was taken down on Monday, September 17.

Jake Lukas, chief executive of Novalis Trust, said: "The action taken to close down the website is in response to damaging, false and offensive allegations.

"The website was predominantly a vehicle for contributors to vent grievances about a wide range of topics and to permit anonymous attacks, defamatory and harassing in nature against named or readily identifiable individuals.

"These contributors have taken extensive steps to conceal their identities, including using an internet identity protection service."

The trust, which also owns Cotswold Chine School, closed the pub on July 8.

Plans to turn it into a village shop and cafe have not been well received by the community and hundreds have taken part in protests and signed an online petition.

The website provided readers with updates on the campaign to save the pub and was used by supporters to comment on why the Halfway House should be kept open.

It contained 72 questions which campaigners wanted answering.

Campaigner Sean Kelly said: "This is by no means an attack on the school. The teachers and carers do an excellent job."

A new service provider is now hosting the website and the Novalis Trust says it will consider legal action if the company does not take it down.