Councillors in porn inquiry

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The Independent Online
FOUR county councillors are under police investigation into the alleged misuse of a local authority's computers for pornography.

Shropshire County Council confirmed that West Mercia Police had executed search warrants at the homes of the four Labour councillors early on Wednesday.

A council spokesman said no one had been charged, but named three of the councillors being investigated as Peter Sayles, Ken Smith and Derek Woodvine.

A West Mercia police spokesman said: "During the early hours of Wednesday police officers in Shropshire executed search warrants at four addresses in connection with an inquiry into pornography.

"A quantity of property was recovered from addresses and will now be the subject of examination."

Police said that two men have been arrested in connection with the inquiry. They were interviewed at Shrewsbury police station and released on police bail until June.

The council's Labour group leader, Malcolm Perks, said the three were named because they had been due to stand for places on council committees.

"In view of the on-going inquiries and in order to secure public confidence, the group will not be appointing them to any committee seats," Mr Perks said.

A council spokeswoman said the fourth council member had not been named because he or she was not due to stand for a committee at yesterday's annual meeting.

The decision not to name the fourth councillor could be reviewed later, she added.

The council's chief executive, Nigel Pursey, said staff had acted very quickly to bring the matter to his attention.

The authority would now be reviewing its operational guidelines for the use of computer equipment by all staff and councillors.

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