Animal rights activists are being blamed for a leaflet campaign wrongly describing a man with links to a guinea pig breeding farm as a convicted paedophile.
The leaflets were pushed through neighbours' letterboxes
Staffordshire Police said self-employed fuel supplier Rodney Harvey of Chase Terrace, near Cannock, was targeted in flyers distributed to his neighbours.
The leaflets were put through letterboxes in Bridge Cross Road on Tuesday morning.
Among Mr Harvey's clients is a local guinea pig breeding firm - David Hall and Partners at Newchurch, Staffordshire - which a force spokesman said had been the target of repeated protests by animal rights campaigners in recent years.
Inspector David Bird said: "It is appalling that Mr Harvey should be victimised in this way.
"He is a man of good character who has never been accused of, investigated
for, or convicted of any offence.
"His only crime is trying to make an honest living.
"These leaflets are the work of criminals trying to embroil Mr Harvey's
neighbours in an ongoing campaign of intimidation."
A police spokesman said: "Staffordshire police are condemning animal rights
campaigners who are believed to have leafleted a man's neighbours with entirely false allegations that he is a convicted paedophile.
"Neighbours received flyers which wrongly accused Mr Rodney Harvey of being violent and a convicted sex offender."
The spokesman said anyone with information about who distributed the leaflets should contact police.