Hackers have left Maryport Town Council with a £2,000 bill by bringing down its website.

The hack appears to have been the work of internationally known Moroccan hacker Abdellah Elmaghribi, described as an extreme Islamist and a “jihadi hacker.” The hack also mentions the name of X Shona.

It is understood that Elmaghribi is one of those responsible for over 19,000 cyber-attacks in France in the immediate wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings where 11 people were killed and 11 more injured.

Why a small town council like Maryport would attract his attention is unknown.

However, he has previously hacked into sites that included Chatham Town Football Club, and he did leave a message on the Maryport site about world governments.

People logging on to the Maryport council’s website this week found a cartoon devil and an “explanation” for the hack which suggested that both socialism and capitalism were responsible for the downfall of the earth.

It also stated that all politicians are untrustworthy.

The council has put up a message saying that it the website is closed for maintenance.

Town clerk Lisa Douglas said the first the council knew of the hack was when she received a phone call from a Home Group officer who had been

online and noticed the little devils.

She said: “We immediately got in touch with the people who set up our website and were told that it would have to be completely rebuilt.

“We have no idea how long that will take but in the meantime the website cannot be used.”

The £2,000 price tag, at a time when the council is facing significant income cuts, has been a blow.

Carol Tindall, chairwoman of the town council’s finance committee, this week asked councillors whether they wished to rebuild the site or, instead, tag onto a site such as that run by Allerdale council or the county council.

She said it could meet its obligations by printing meeting minutes and agendas on one of those sites.

However, there was likely to be a cost for using someone else’s website, she agreed.

Councillors decided that they would rather have their own website for community announcements, newsletters and the like.

The website will be restored as quickly as possible.