A FORMER Wirral councillor appeared at Birkenhead magistrate's court today charged with sending a "grossly offensive or indecent message on a public communications network."

Ex-Labour representative for Bidston and St James ward, Jim Crabtree, pleaded not guilty to making a threatening phone call to Louise Reecejones, Labour councillor for Pensby and Thingwall.

The offence is alleged to occurred on June 17 this year.

Crabtree, 61, of Hillburn Drive, Bidston, was bailed to appear for trial on January 11.

He was deselected by the Labour group and left the council at local elections last May.