A PLAID Cymru councillor has been suspended after posting a picture of himself of Facebook holding a gun saying he was 'looking for English people'.

The councillor, who is also a boxing coach, has now apologised for the “ill-judged” social media post in which he was pictured holding a gun at a beach and said was to stop "English people trying to cross the channel".

Plaid confirmed he has been suspended as an investigation takes place while South Wales Police has confirmed it is investigating an allegation of malicious communication.

In a post to his personal Facebook page, Caerphilly County Borough councillor Jon Scriven appears to be holding a rifle on a beach. Alongside the photo he wrote: “Ogmore-by-Sea tonight for a quick swim and make sure there wasn’t any English people trying to cross the channel.”

The post was uploaded to the platform on August 8 and later deleted, it began to be widely shared on Monday afternoon.

A screenshot of this post was tweeted out by Caerphilly’s Labour Senedd Member Hefin David, with the caption: “Not appropriate surely?”

The responses to the Labour MS’s tweet were divided, with some branding Cllr Scriven’s comment as “xenophobia”, while others argued it was a joke.

The Penyrheol councillor, who remains an elected member of the council, has since apologised for the post.

In a statement he said: “I would like to apologise for any offence caused by my now deleted Facebook post. It was ill-judged and I have apologised to the group leader Lindsay Whittle who has accepted my apology.”

Leader of the council’s Plaid Cymru group, Cllr Lindsay Whittle, had reacted with a love heart to his fellow party member’s social media post – which was originally published on August 8.

Following Cllr Scriven’s post being taken down, Cllr Whittle said: “Jon Scriven has apologised to me as leader of the Plaid Cymru group for the remark on Facebook, and I have accepted that.”

Mr David - who has himself been reprimanded for comments on social media in the past - said: “At a time when our society is facing huge challenges, it’s incredibly concerning to see this from a Caerphilly Plaid councillor. We should be seeking to unite people and address real concerns like the cost of living, not post disturbing images that are calculated to divide us.”

Caerphilly’s Labour MP, Wayne David, criticised Cllr Scriven’s post and tweeted: “This is truly the unacceptable face of Welsh nationalism.”

Superintendent Michelle Conquer, of South Wales Police, said: “An allegation of malicious communications has been reported to us and we are investigating the matter.”

Meanwhile, Conservative MS for South East Wales, Natasha Asghar, has written to the leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, Sean Morgan, and the leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price, calling for urgent action.

Ms Asghar said: “Not only is this post xenophobic, but the implication of violence is completely repugnant and warrants a full and proper investigation.

“Understandably many people have taken offence to the post and while I am pleased to hear it has been deleted, the fact it was posted in the first place is deeply troubling.

“It is imperative that both Caerphilly Council and Plaid Cymru look into this serious matter without dither and delay.”

On Twitter, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said he was “speechless”.

He added: “Adam Price cannot let another scandal rage on without decisive action. This sort of xenophobic attitude is beneath us.”

Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Jane Dodds MP said in a statement: “There is a clear implication of violence and xenophobia in this post.

“Whether or not it was intended as a joke or not, it is entirely inappropriate for an elected official to make such comments, when they should know better.

“With so much hate in politics the last few years we should be trying to build bridges, not stoke division further.

“Plaid Cymru must now do the right thing and suspend the councillor in question.”

A Plaid Cymru spokesperson said: “Councillor Scriven’s now deleted post was inappropriate and goes against Plaid Cymru’s views and values.

“All Plaid Cymru elected representatives have a duty to uphold the highest standards. Councillor Scriven has been suspended pending an investigation.”