The public were locked out of an online Covid-19 emergency meeting after a hijacker bombarded it with indecent material.
Early this month, Angus Council became one of the first in Scotland to establish virtual meetings to deal with council business during the pandemic but had to pull the plug within minutes of the start of its second special arrangements committee on Tuesday.
Indecent images appeared on the Zoom screen platform, along with disgusting messages left by the unwelcome guest or guests.
Several different profiles appeared but it is understood the possibility they were all connected to a single source is being considered.
Council leader David Fairweather branded the behaviour as “shocking”, telling the online meeting it “defies belief.”
The agenda included updates on the council’s coronavirus response to date, as well as “normal” council business relating to areas including housing and Arbroath’s multi-million pound Sustrans active travel scheme.
The afternoon meeting was being watched by a number of members of the Angus public when the council’s legal chief, Jackie Buchanan, alerted administration chief Mr Fairweather to the inappropriate material.
Foul messages appeared included one believed to be directed towards Angus Provost Ronnie Proctor.
IT officers attempted to exclude some of the participants from the Zoom meeting as it continued, but the decision was taken to close it down within around ten minutes.
It resumed soon afterwards, but with members of the public excluded.
Arbroath Independent Mr Fairweather told the meeting at the close of public business: “It’s just a shame we had some idiots that decided to disrupt the meeting.
“It is certainly not welcome, and it is not clever.”
A council spokesman said: “While we were pleased to be able to include Audit Scotland and The Courier at the meeting’s resumption, it was unfortunate that the unacceptable behaviour by an individual meant that other members of the public had to be excluded to allow the online meeting to continue as scheduled.
“Such behaviour is unacceptable and we are looking at ways to eliminate this type of disruption from future meetings in a way that ensures those who are genuinely interested in local democracy can still participate.”