DARLINGTON’S "Rent-a-Cop" Francis Jones is in the clear after an assault charge against him was dropped.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) took the decision to dismiss a charge of common assault against the security firm boss, who lives in Hurworth, near Darlington.

The charge was formally dismissed at South Durham Magistrates Court in Newton Aycliffe on Monday due to lack of evidence.

Mr Jones, who was the star of BBC reality series Rent-a-Cop, was arrested at the new Amazon warehouse site in Darlington last month after a subcontractor made an allegation of assault against him.

The site is patrolled by his company Sparta Security.

Mr Jones said he was held in a cell overnight and charged with common assault.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, he claimed he had acted in self-defence during an altercation with the man concerned.

“We are a leading security provider selling peace of mind and confidence and reassurance and if I went around assaulting my staff that wouldn’t be very professional. And I am a professional.”

He claimed he had dismissed the subcontractor for not wearing any shoes, which led to the dispute.

“Jesus said to turn the other cheek and that is what I was trying to do,” he said.

He said the well-publicised arrest has had little effect on his business.

“The clients know and like and trust me,” he said. “If one of those elements are missing it affects the whole business.

“No customers have come away from me because of this, in fact if I am honest we have even more business on board now.”

A CPS spokesman said: “In line with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, the prosecutor in any criminal case has a duty to keep the evidence under continuous review.

“In this case, charges were initially brought after an allegation by the complainant that they had been assaulted by the defendant.

“During a subsequent review of the evidence, it became clear that the police investigation had unearthed no CCTV or witnesses that could corroborate the complainant’s account.

“The standard of proof required in a criminal trial is very high and, in the absence of corroborating evidence, a court would be obliged to exercise any doubt in favour of the defendant and must find him not guilty.

“In light of this, there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction and the CPS took the decision to formally discontinue the case.”

Sparta was based on Darlington’s North Road but is now run from a unit in Newton Aycliffe.