Joey Barton contacted by police over social media comments

Former Premier League footballer Joey Barton has hit out at "an attempt to intimidate" him and his family after officers contacted him about comments he posted on social media.

Cheshire Constabulary have said they made "multiple attempts" to arrange a voluntary interview with a 41-year-old man from Liverpool.

The force added they had tried to arrange the interview after receiving "reports of offences under the Communications Act".

In a statement on the X social media platform, Barton said he had been "visited 4 times in 3 days by Cheshire Police" who he claims had asked for a voluntary interview "about something I've tweeted".

He claimed a "couple of women police officers" had knocked on his front door at 9.30pm on Thursday when "my kids were in bed".

Barton said in the post that he had given the officers his solicitor's contact details.

The former Manchester City player also said his solicitor had tried to contact a sergeant at the force but had received no response.

He added: "Either it's a shambles or an attempt to intimidate me and my family. Welcome to North Korea."

Read more from Sky News:
Brixton Academy opens after fatal crash
How would a smoking ban work?
PM pledges to remove benefits for people not taking jobs

A spokesperson for Cheshire Constabulary confirmed the force had been contacted by legal representatives, "but an interview is yet to be confirmed".

Barton has been criticised in recent months for comments attacking female footballers and pundits.

He described ITV pundits Eni Aluko and Lucy Ward as "the Fred and Rose West of football commentary".

Former England striker Aluko criticised the social media platform for allowing Mr Barton and others to "vomit hatred unchecked".

In January, sports minister Stuart Andrew described Mr Barton's attacks as "dangerous" and warned they "opened the floodgates for abuse".

In December last year, he was criticised for saying women were "not qualified" to talk about men's football.

It came just over a year after Barton was cleared of assaulting his wife in October 2022 when a judge ruled he could not get a fair trial.