Paul Flowers charged: Disgraced former Co-op Bank chief faces possession of drugs charges

Flowers charged with two counts of possession of Class A drugs - cocaine and methamphetamine - and one count of possession of Class C drug ketamine

Disgraced former Co-op Bank chief Paul Flowers has been charged with possession of drugs including cocaine, prosecutors have said.

West Yorkshire Police said Mr Flowers, 63, has been charged with two counts of possession of Class A drugs - cocaine and methamphetamine - and one count of possession of Class C drug ketamine.

He has been bailed and will appear before Leeds Magistrates Court on 7 May.

Mr Flowers stepped down as head of the Co-op last year amid claims of illegal drug use and inappropriate expenses payments.

He was also suspended by both the Methodist Church and the Labour Party following allegations that he had bought and used illegal drugs.

It also emerged that he quit as a Labour councillor in Bradford after porn was found on his computer, although at the time he claimed he was leaving due to pressure of work.

The Co-operative Bank confirmed last year that it was seeking to recover contractual payments totalling £31,000 made to Mr Flowers amid reports that he was also the subject of an inquiry into "lavish" expense claims at the Co-op when he resigned from the mutual's group board in June.

Mr Flowers fought through the waiting photographers and TV crews as he arrived at Stainbeck Police station in Leeds earlier. On arrival at the police station he referred to the waiting media as "vultures".

"There is a phrase for some people, they call them vultures, and I really do hope that somebody quotes me on that, especially the BBC," he said.

Adding: "The BBC have been really nice to me but the rest of you are vultures." He made no comment as he left the police station.

His solicitor, Andrew Hollas, told reporters that his client would make a "full statement" following his appearance at Leeds Magistrates' Court on 7 May.

When asked about media coverage of the case, he replied: "He's been charged with very serious offences but you're absolutely correct, I think it's been self-evident that he has been hounded for six months by certain elements of the press and they have included many allegations within their papers that have been completely without foundation. "

"However, I'm not prepared to go into that any further at the moment."

"Mr Flowers has assured me, and through me I'm instructing you, that he will make a full statement after his magistrates appearance."

Clare Stevens, from the Crown Prosecution Service's complex casework unit in Yorkshire and Humberside, said: "We have carefully considered a file of evidence gathered by West Yorkshire Police in relation to alleged criminal offences committed by Paul Flowers in Bradford in November 2013.

"Following a review of the evidence, I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Paul Flowers with possession of Class A and Class C drugs relating to an incident on November 9 2013."

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