THE managing director of a farmers’ mart has been suspended, The Northern Echo has learned.

Andrew Armstrong, who runs Darlington Farmers Auction Mart and is also an auctioneer there, is understood to have been suspended by fellow directors on Friday.

It is understood that he has not yet been informed of the reason for his suspension.

A spokesman for the mart said: “Andrew has been suspended, but has not been informed of any allegations so far in relation to this suspension.”

Allegations of financial irregularities at the mart were made to Durham Police last month, and officers are in the very early stages of an investigation.

Shareholders are concerned about payments which have been made to Mr Armstrong and financial director Richard Heseltine, but directors said last week the payments had been bonus payments which had been authorised properly.

The company is in the process of building a new auction mart at Humbleton Farm, Burtree, on the edge of Darlington. It has been trying to move out of its Clifton Road site in the town centre to a more appropriate out-of-town site for decades.