PRIVATE guards have been hired by a council to prevent an asthmatic grandfather attending meetings.

Chris Snowdon has been barred from Middlesbrough town hall for refusing to stand for the mayor.

He is now challenging council chief executive John Foster to lift his "unlawful ban" - or put the seven week old "farce" before a judge.

The 52-year-old revealed last night he is considering applying for a judicial review.

"I have written to Mr Foster asking him to explain himself. One course of action I can take is to seek a judicial review. I have given him until April 17 to respond to me. All I want is for him to act lawfully and withdraw the ban.''

Mr Snowdon says he has attended five council meetings in the past six weeks, inspected the town hall notice board "innumerable'' times and has yet to be ejected.

He says hiring "burly bouncers'' to enforce the ban is "going a tad over the top".

A spokesman for Middlesbrough Borough Council said it had "taken reasonable steps to ensure it can conduct its business in a proper manner".