A MIDDLESBROUGH councillor is facing a misconduct in a public office charge over fireworks.

Jon Rathmell had pleaded not guilty to three charges of fraud and forgery involving the use of fake invoices submitted to a community council.

But when he appeared in court this morning, the prosecution swapped the three original charges for one of misconduct in a public office.

The 42-year-old, who is a member of the Middlesbrough Independent Councillors Association (MICA) on Middlesbrough Council, was not asked to enter a plea to the new charge during the short hearing at Teesside Crown Court.

He was accused of committing fraud by false representation and two counts of using a false instrument and the court heard the details were incorporated into the new charge.

The new offence, containing the same details, is alleged to have occurred between January 10 and 11 in 2019.

At an earlier hearing, the court heard the alleged victim was Nunthorpe Community Council.

Cllr Rathmell was released on bail until later this month.

The trial on the fraud charges, which was due to start on Monday, was vacated by Judge Stephen Ashurst.