The former mayor of Bideford is reminding people to stay safe online after his Facebook account was hacked into.

The post that appeared on Dermot's Facebook profile.The post that appeared on Dermot's Facebook profile.

Dermot McGeough turned on his phone on Wednesday evening to find dozens of concerned friends and family members messaging him to ask if he was okay.

A confused Mr McGeough then went onto his profile to realise someone had hacked into his account and published a post insinuating he had died.

The post used a photo which Mr McGeough had not posted on Facebook previously, meaning someone had also hacked into his iCloud account to obtain it.

The businessman and father-of-one said he felt ‘violated’ thinking someone had accessed his personal account and photos.

“It caused a lot of distress to my family as they were in America and panicking because they thought I had died,” said Mr McGeough.

“I had been out of signal range for a few hours, so no-one could contact me. It looked like I had taken my own life.

“My family were absolutely distraught. I’ve had hundreds of messages of support since from people, I just can’t believe this happened.”

Mr McGeough, who said he also received two death threats when he was mayor last year, wanted to use his experience to remind people to stay safe online.

“It can happen to anyone so make sure you keep your passwords secure and change them regularly,” he said.

“And if something does happen then report it to the police.”