A NORTH-EAST MP has threatened to take legal action against a grandmother in a bizarre row over a boules pitch.

James Wharton, the Tory MP for Stockton South, took action to remove “Save our park” posters stuck to trees by former teacher Carole Jones.

The MP found himself dragged into the row over the boules pitch when one of Mrs Jones’ posters depicted him as a James Bondstyle evil genius working with Yarm Town Council.

But Mr Wharton didn’t find the posters amusing. In an email, he accused Mrs Jones of fly-posting and distributing libellous cartoons.

Last night, a spokesman said the posters had been stuck to trees at a fun run and had the potential to spoil a day that was supposed to be non-political.

Mrs Jones opposed the boules plan. She believes the creation of a 50ft by 16ft pitch at Snaith’s Field, a small park left to the people of Yarm as a playground, will deprive local children of somewhere to play.

The 56-year-old, who unsuccessfully stood as an independent candidate for the Conservativerun town council at the local elections in May, said there was no demand for a boules pitch, but the area was well-used by children.

She is also worried the pitch will eventually be used for car parking.

In April, she tried to stop bulldozers tearing up the small park and has vowed to do everything she can to fight the proposal.

She distributed about 50 copies of a cartoon on the issue in the George and Dragon pub in which a character called “W” is depicted as an evil genius behind plans to solve the town’s parking problems by pouring concrete on Snaith’s Field.

She followed them up with three home-made posters showing children with placards saying Save our Park, which she posted on trees in the park before Yarm fun run two weeks ago.

She said: “They were just A4 posters and I put them up before the run. I noticed they’d gone and some people nearby said Mr Wharton had torn them off the trees. I emailed him and he said the fun run wasn’t a political day.

“He also said I was guilty of flyposting, which worried me.”

Mrs Jones, who takes her fouryear- old grandson to the park every Monday, said she was scared enough to talk to the police about the issue twice, but they had not taken any action.

The Northern Echo understands that, in fact, Mrs Jones had emailed her MP on previous occasions on different issues and once approached him in the street.

A copy of Mr Wharton’s email has been obtained by The Northern Echo.

Posted on July 20, it said: “I suggest you make a report (to the police) if that’s what you want to do.

You will appreciate, however, that I will likewise have to report your fly-posting and continued harassment of my office. I will also be taking advice on the libellous cartoons you have been distributing and you can expect to hear from my solicitors in due course. You have damaged my reputation by making untrue inferences and it is time you were taken up on your lies. Please do not contact me again.”

A spokesman for Mr Wharton said: “This lady has been campaigning in an unconventional and vexatious way and not always at appropriate times. This was at Yarm Fun Race and had the potential to spoil the day at a time when politics was not appropriate.”