HEREFORDSHIRE Council has this morning explained the reason it did not carry out a separate due diligence report on Hereford United ahead of ground leases being re-assigned.

A full council meeting at its Brockington headquarters heard the procedure for due diligence was different for long term tenants than for those new to them.

Cllr Jim Knipe pressed the authority's cabinet member for contracts and assets, Cllr Harry Bramer, in light of the news no separate report into the Bulls' financial plight was prepared before the leases were re-assigned.

He asked him to explain what an "appropriate level of due diligence" consists of.

"At the time the leases were being negotiated, we were dealing with a club that we have had dealings with for some time," said Cllr Bramer.

"The council had a responsibility for looking for a way to ensure football to be played at Edgar Street.

"The amount of due diligence for someone who is known to us is different to that if you don't know them."

As already reported by the Hereford Times this morning, one of the three people to sign off the Heads of Terms for the re-assigned leases at Edgar Street was the former chief executive of Hereford Futures, Jonathan Bretherton.

Mr Bretherton’s signature is the first on the document, with the signatures of Geoff Hughes, Herefordshire Council’s director of places and communities, and David Keyte, then owner of Hereford United below.

Mr Bretherton signed on April 26 2012 and Mr Hughes and Mr Keyte on April 30 2012.