A MAN has been arrested in relation to an allegation of "corrupt practice" in the recent local elections held in Hyndburn earlier this month.

It is alleged a signature on a Hyndburn Conservative Party candidate's nomination papers for May 5's elections was invalid.

The 39-year-old from Accringtonsince has been released under investigation while police continue their enquiries.

However a local leading Tory has dismissed the allegations.

The 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.”

A Lancashire Constabulary spokesperson said: "A 39-year-old man from Accrington was arrested on suspicion of an offence, namely corrupt practice by causing or permitting to be included a false signature on a nomination paper.

"He has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries."

Last week 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."

She declined to comment on the latest development.

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."

Inquiries by the police are continuing regarding a similar case of electoral malpractice in Rossendale.

It relates to a query over the validity of a signature on the Greensclough ward Conservative 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.

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

Rossendale Green Party spokesperson 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 last week: "Everything was done properly and in good faith by our team.

"There may be some family disagreement."