HYNDBURN'S new Mayor has called in police after banners making a number of serious allegations against him were hung up in Accrington on the day of his installation.
Councillor Tony Dobson wants an investigation to both identify the culprits and to clear his name.
At least three banners were put up around the town on Saturday just hours before the official Mayor-making ceremony.
They were hung in highly-visible places including near the Arndale Centre, on the railway viaduct and on a bridge crossing Whalley Road.
The banners called for Councillor Dobson, a Conservative, to quit and accused him of racism and malpractice.
Police were informed by a member of the public at around 9am.
But Councillor Dobson, 40, a businessman who lives in Oswaldtwistle, appeared unruffled by the banners and said he had not allowed them to wreck his big day.
During his Town Hall speech he joked: "I knew I was unpopular in certain parts but I never expected this."
But later this week, in an exclusive interview with the Observer, he said he had already demanded action in a bid to publicly refute the allegations made.
He said: "I first heard about the banners at about 9.30am just before the ceremony. Someone told me about them but I thought he was joking until other people started to mention it.
"I really don't know what all this is about. I have been in business for about 20 years and have a reputation for running a very tight ship.
"I fall out with people extremely rarely. In fact in business I have fallen out with people only about three times in the last 20 years.
"I was the deputy leader of the council for the last two or three years and now I am Mayor so everything you do is scrutinised
"I am certainly not a racist. After all the best man at my wedding, Bob Thind, is a Sikh.
"As for any allegations of malpractice, the council has learned from the mistakes of councils in the past 20 years.
"There is a system of checks and balances in place to stop that from happening.
"I have had three dozen text messages and phone calls offering support from all sections of the community which has been great to see. People have said they just can't believe it has happened.
"My wife Trish was upset about it on the day and at one time it would have upset me as well. But over the years I have got tougher."
Inspector Alan Wylie said: "The situation is that Councillor Dobson wants to have his name cleared but we have not been given any specific allegations against him to investigate."
He added that if anyone had any specific complaints they should come forward and inform the police.
The banners have been seized by police and it is understood that forensic examinations are being carried out in a bid to trace the people responsible. CCTV footage is also being examined.
Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "We had a wonderful day despite this. If anyone has any sort of grievance against Councillor Dobson they should not hide behind the cloak of anonymity. This is a cowardly way of going about things."