PEOPLE in Hartlepool have turned their backs on a directly elected mayor in a decision that removes Stuart Drummond from power.

Turnout in yesterday’s election was just 18 per cent but the result - announced early this morning - was decisive.

Some 7,366 votes were cast in favour of scrapping the directly elected mayor’s position against 5,177 in favour of keeping it.

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As a result, the major and cabinet system will be replaced by a committee system from next May.

Critics of the mayor argued that the position was a costly luxury the town could no longer afford.

Mr Drummond now has the distinction of becoming Hartlepool’s first – and only – directly elected mayor.

The former football club mascot entered the race in 2002 and, to his surprise, romped home the winner.

He has successfully defended the job twice but now finds himself looking for a new role.