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Mayor Peter Britcliffe steps down from office to 'clear his name' after sex offence allegations

The former council leader has strongly denied the ‘awful’ claims and said he has ‘every confidence’ the investigation will prove his innocence

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Peter Britcliffe

Hyndburn Mayor Peter Britcliffe has stepped down from office to ‘clear his name’ after police received sex offence allegations against him.

The former council leader has strongly denied the ‘awful’ claims and said he has ‘every confidence’ the investigation will prove his innocence.

No arrests or charges have been made.

Coun Britcliffe said in a statement: “I am stepping aside from mayoral duties in the interest of the borough of Hyndburn and the mayoralty.

“I am doing this because of police enquiries into allegations made against me.

“I have fully cooperated with the police, the allegations are not true and I have every confidence that the investigation will prove my innocence.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time in order not to prejudice the police enquiries.

“There are no charges, court proceedings and the CPS which considers if charges are to be brought, has not been consulted.

“Although I have thoroughly enjoyed my year as Mayor of Hyndburn, these awful allegations have put a terrible strain on my family and myself and I will therefore be stepping aside from mayoral duties whilst my name is cleared.

“I am confident that this will be the outcome and the sooner this is done the better.

“Over the last few weeks I have received tremendous support from family and friends and I cannot thank them enough.”

Peter Britcliffe

Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said the town hall will look to make ‘alternative arrangements’ with organisers of forthcoming mayoral engagements.

In a statement, he said: “Whilst we are not able to comment on matters relating to any ongoing police investigation, we can confirm that councillor Britcliffe has agreed to stand aside from his mayoral duties and that he has made a personal statement setting out his reasons for this decision.

“Over the next couple of days the council will be looking at any mayoral engagements that have been booked and getting in touch with the organisers to discuss alternative arrangements.

“We very much want to continue supporting local organisations and charities at their events, and we are confident that alternative arrangements can be put in place very shortly.”

Lancashire Police said the offences are alleged to have been committed in Oswaldtwistle against three men between January and July 2017.

A spokesman: “A 67-year old man from Hyndburn in Lancashire attended a police station by appointment on Monday, January 15, to be interviewed about complaints of sexual offences.

“The man was spoken to at the police station in Lancashire.

“He has not been arrested.”