A DETECTIVE who investigated the misconduct of a Middlesbrough councillor slams his 'lies to try to cover up his crimes'.

Cllr Jon Rathmell pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct in a public office over discrepancies about a fireworks display.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the offence related to an “abuse of public trust” in public office linked to Nunthorpe Community Council in 2018 and 2019.

The misrepresentation of emails and a misrepresented and delayed payment of £1,500 for fireworks were part of the charge.

Separate charges of fraud by false representation and using a false instrument brought not guilty pleas.

The court was told the prosecution would not pursue these charges.

Speaking after this morning's hearing, Detective Constable Michelle Dack, from Cleveland Police's Economic Crime Unit, said: “Misconduct in a public office is a serious offence. No matter what position you hold you can be rightly held to account for any criminal offence.

"We will always take action and bring people to justice whenever these offences come to light. Mr Rathmell has been proven to have told many lies to try to cover up his crimes, but he has rightly now been held to account.”

A Middlesbrough Council spokesman said the authority was aware of the guilty plea to the offence.

He said: "We are aware that an elected member of Middlesbrough Council has today pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct in public office at Teesside Crown Court, and will be sentenced next month.

“It would be inappropriate to make any further comment until after the conclusion of proceedings.”