A COUNTY councillor said he is "foaming at the mouth" after receiving a request for him to help fund a new police vehicle.

John Shuttleworth has called for the abolition of Durham Constabulary's Police and Crime Commissioner after he was sent an email asking for funding from his neighbourhood budget.

The money would be used to help pay for a vehicle for police community support officers (PCSO) based in Stanhope, Weardale, to “offer a visible presence and reassurance to victims” in a rural part of County Durham.

Durham Police say they are committed to tackling crime in the Dale and the vehicle would be essential for keeping an active presence and being seen in the community.

The police approach to Cllr Shuttleworth comes after six councillors helped to fund the UK’s first hi-tech Speedwatch van to patrol in nearby Crook and Willington.

However, Cllr Shuttleworth said: “Weardale pays half a million in police council tax a year and this is going up by five per cent.

“I am calling for the abolition of the Police and Crime Commissioner – they cost a lot of money yet the police send begging letters to buy a new vehicle.

"They earn about £75,000 a year plus they have an entourage of PAs and press officers."

He added: "I'm absolutely foaming at the mouth at this. They are not needed – bring back the police committee and it will save money to buy several Berlingo vans or BMWs.”

The Weardale Area Action Partnership (AAP) has also received a request to help fund the vehicle, but that must go through a decision process to asses if it the right body to help fund the vehicle.

A spokesperson from Weardale AAP said it would point police "in the right direction" if the application is unsuccessful, adding : "We will consider the request from the police in the same way we deal with the others. There is no guarantee.”

Police inspector Ed Turner from Crook Police said: “Over several years we have had good relationships with local businesses and councillors.

"This project is about being smarter with what we have got available to us.

"We do not have a big budget due to cuts and we also want to create better links with councillors and the community, so this project helps achieve both.”

Cllr Shuttleworth said he is open to talks with the police, adding: “They can sit down and have a chat and a cup of tea with me, I’m not fussed.”