A FORMER armed robber wants to be a town's mayor - and do the job free of charge as a thank you for past services.

Reformed hard man Rod Jones, founder of the Middlesbrough organisation, Convoy Aid, says the people of Hartlepool have given generously to the charity in the ten years he has transported food, medicine and clothing to orphans and poor families in Romania.

He says it is now time to say thanks to townspeople.

Residents are being asked by Hartlepool Borough Council if they want to see an elected mayor.

Mr Jones, 52, says if their decision is yes, he will put himself forward as a candidate for the job.

"I would want no payment whatsoever - no attendance allowances for going to meetings - nothing. That is where trouble can start,'' he said.

Middlesbrough-born Mr Jones said his is a serious candidacy and not poking fun at Ray Mallon, the suspended head of Middlesbrough CID, and former Hartlepool CID chief, who has declared his interest in standing for mayor.

Mr Jones, the son of a former Middlesbrough councillor, said: "I have done a lot of charity work with Hartlepool people, who are lovely. They help out every year. The kids are smashing with the help we get from schools too. This would be my way of saying thanks while doing something useful."

Detective Superintendent Mallon, could not be contacted for comment.