Calls for harassment law intervention

Rothbury Parish councillors who have come under a barrage of complaints from a local man may resort to the law to defend themselves.

The villager, whose identity is not being revealed by the council, has reported members to the county council, the MP and the Information Commissioner’s Office in the past few months, but after investigations, no action has been taken against the parish.

Mark Gilson said the council should consider using the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act, which carries a sentence of up to six months’ imprisonment and a fine of up to £5,000.

“I think this parish council has been unreasonably harassed – all of it, not just certain members,” he said.

“I think this council has a duty to the village and any other councillor that follows us to have a solution to evident harassment.”

Members were told a recent complaint against council chairman Coun Jeff Reynalds had been investigated by the county council and not upheld. The allegation was that he had failed to consult any colleagues when responding to a county council request, but he had consulted all of them.