Former Bury Council pair deny bribery allegations following raids on East Lancashire homes

Former Bury Council pair deny bribery allegations following raids on East Lancashire homes

INVESTIGATION Coun Bob Bibby

INVESTIGATION Coun Jim Taylor

First published in Stacksteads

A FORMER Bury Council leader has denied any wrongdoing after he was arrested by police on suspicion of corruption.

Coun Bob Bibby, 69, and his partner Coun Jim Taylor, 64, were detained after 12 police officers carried out a dawn raid on their home in Booth Road, Staksteads, on Tuesday.

Police said they were investigating allegations that the two Conservative councillors had accepted bribes in relation to a planning application in Radcliffe.

They also arrested three other men suspected of submitting the application.

Yesterday Coun Bibby said he — and Coun Taylor — strenuously rejected the allegations.

He said: “Bribery hasn’t been a part of local government for 30 years — those days are long gone.

“I turn 70 this year. I have had 13 years in local politics and have been around long enough to know that such corruption is not only impossible to hide, but undesirable given the negative attention it is bound to bring to those involved.

"I have nothing to hide and I can speak for Jim as well. These allegations are unfounded.”

Coun Bibby said police told him they had found text messages alleging that he would take a £10,000 payment in exchange for co-operation with an application.

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Coun Bibby strongly denies sending or receiving any such message.

Coun Bibby said: “I am not in a position to influence planning at all.

“As council leader, you generally encourage investment in your town and you want companies to come in and clean up grotspots and provide businesses that create jobs and homes for families. But when it comes to the details of particular applications, that is not for the council leader.

“That is why developers have pre-application talks with planning officers and why the planning committee makes decisions.”

On Tuesday, detectives and uniformed officers seized computers and paperwork from Bury Town Hall and from business premises in Moston.

All five men detained, aged 45 to 69, were released without charge on Tuesday evening and bailed until a date in April.

Bury divisional commander Chief Superintendent Jon Rush 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.

“The council is co-operating with the investigation and we intend to keep disruption to a minimum.”

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