A CORRUPTION probe over alleged planning application bribes has led to the arrest of two councillors in the Bacup area.

Coun Bob Bibby, 69, former leader of Bury Council, was detained after dawn raids on his home in Booth Road, Stacksteads.

He was arrested alongside his partner, and Ramsbottom area councillor, Jim Taylor, 64, at their Hawthorn House home.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: “These arrests are the result of an intelligence-led operation launched in June, 2011, into allegations that two councillors at Bury Council accepted bribes in relation to a planning application.”

Yesterday’s raids also saw properties in the Altrincham area and Didsbury searched.

Detectives and uniformed officers have also seized computers and paperwork from Bury Town Hall, as part of the probe, and from business premises in the Moston area of Manchester.

Three other men were also detained and all five were questioned by police last night on suspicion of corruption in a public office before being bailed to appear in April.

Chief Supt Jon Rush, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “This has been a complex investigation and these arrests are the result of a lot of hard work by a dedicated team of officers.

“I recognise this operation will cause some disruption at the council. However, the council is co-operating with the investigation and we intend to keep disruption to a minimum.”

Coun Taylor’s North Manor ward includes Summerseat and parts of Ramsbottom.

Coun Bibby was council leader until the ruling Conservative group was ousted by Labour at the 2011 borough elections.