A COUNCILLOR arrested by police after complaints about comments posted on an internet forum says he is looking forward to his day in court.

Geoff Lilley, an independent Hartlepool borough councillor, spent eight hours in custody before he was released on bail.

It is understood the former bus driver made remarks about fellow councillor Marjorie James, who represents Labour in the Owton ward.

The grandfather, who represents the Greatham ward, said he had been to a routine council planning committee meeting on Friday morning when his wife left him a message on his phone saying police wanted to speak to him.

After the meeting, he went to the police station and was detained from about 2pm to 10pm. His laptop computer has been confiscated as part of the investigation.

It is believed the posts were made in November on the High Tax Hartlepool website, which was started by members of the public who had attended a recent meeting of the council’s scrutiny forum.

Coun Lilley said he initially had no idea why police wanted to question him and was shocked when the reason was revealed.

It is understood that officers also want to identify other people who contribute to the forum.

Speaking about the possibility of appearing in court, Mr Lilley said last night: “I know all the evidence is there – I am looking forward to it.

“My phone has not stopped ringing with messages of support.

I have been emotionally overwhelmed, I am quite tearful talking about it. You do not know how many friends you have got until something like this happens.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Inquiries are ongoing.

A 60-year-old man from Hartlepool has been arrested on suspicion of an offence under the Malicious Communications Act and has been released on bail pending further inquiries.”

Last night, Coun James said: “I have no comment to make. The matter is the subject of a police inquiry and, as such, I will not make any public statement until it is concluded.”

Hartlepool Borough Council was unavailable for comment.