POLICE are looking into two allegations that signatures on East Lancashire local election candidates nomination papers were invalid.

One relates to a Conservative candidate in Hyndburn and the second to the Tory hopeful in Greensclough ward in Rossendale.

In addition, the Reform UK party in Hyndburn has accused former Labour councillor turned Tory candidate Gareth Molineux of harassing one of their potential candidates - an allegation he denies.

The Hyndburn nomination paper probe came to light in a tweet from the borough's former Labour MP Graham Jones, who stopped short of identifying the candidate in question.

It said: "Police are investigating a Hyndburn Conservative council candidate for a alleged serious offence.

"Evidence has been provided, the elections officer informed. Such is the serious nature, the Conservative Party should suspend the candidate.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Cllr Marlene Haworth has dismissed the claimsCllr Marlene Haworth has dismissed the claims

A police spokesman said: "We have received a report with enquiries ongoing."

A Hyndburn Council spokesperson said: "I can confirm Hyndburn Borough Council have been made aware of a complaint that is being investigated by the police."

It is understood the allegation relates to the possibility a signature had been fraudulently added to a candidate's nomination form.

Cllr Marlene Haworth, leader of Hyndburn Council's Conservative group and election agent, said: "I do not believe this allegation to be true.

"I have been contacted by the Labour Party but not responded. I have received nothing official from the police.

"I am not prepared to comment on who the candidate is. I am happy for the police to do their work."

The Rossendale case involves a query over the validity of a signature on the Tory candidate Stuart Haughan's nomination papers, after a signature claiming to be the same person also appeared on the form of Green candidate Alexander Vijatov.

Lancashire Telegraph: Cllr Foxcroft and his Green counterpart said there has been no wrongdoingCllr Foxcroft and his Green counterpart said there has been no wrongdoing

A police spokesman said: "An allegation of potential election fraud in Rossendale has been reported to us. We are currently investigating."

A Rossendale Council spokeswoman said: "An issue was discovered by a deputy returning officer at Rossendale Council and was immediately reported to the police."

Rossendale Green Party spokeswoman Cllr Julie Adshead said: "I am confident Mr Vijatov's nomination papers are ok."

Cllr David Foxcroft, leader of Rossendale Council's Conservative group said: "Everything was done properly and in good faith by our team. There may be some family disagreement."

Reform UK's -formerly known at the Brexit Party - Hyndburn boss Wayne Fitzharris has alleged on social media that Gareth Molineux had called him to threaten to reveal details about one of its candidates criminal record, causing him to withdraw his nomination.

He reported them to the police but was told the calls did not constitute an election offence.

Mr Molineux said: "I categorically deny making any harassing phone calls to members of the Reform UK Party."