POLICE were called to a town council meeting last night after a resigning councillor "refused to leave" the chamber.

Rich Hadley was reading out his resignation speech to Ledbury Town Council when he says he was "shouted down" by town Mayor Cllr Bob Barnes.

The meeting was abandoned and West Mercia Police called, although they were stood down before reaching the chamber. 

Mr Hadley was resigning over two grievances with the council which he has called "disturbing and reprehensible".

"I began reading out my statement and within less than a minute the Mayor was shouting me down," he said.

"The meeting then descended into chaos.

"It was an outrageous infringement of the rules of conduct and I will be making a complaint to this effect."

Cllr Barnes said he has never known police called to a town council meeting before.

"I tried to stop him because of the content of his speech," he said.

"It was disrespectful to the councillors present.

"It was unfortunate but not totally unexpected."

Mr Hadley alleges the Mayor "cooked up" a story about him to discredit him, something the Mayor refutes.

He is also angered at an "unauthorised payment" by the town council to the Foxley Tagg Partnership, the company appointed to help the town council develop its Neighbourhood Plan.

Cllr Barnes, however, says an independent auditor found no problem with the process and "said it wasn't an irregular payment".

A West Mercia Police spokesman said: “Police were called at 7.45pm to the Market House in Ledbury to reports of a member of the public being in a council meeting and refusing to leave.

"The meeting was adjourned and we were told that our attendance was no longer needed. There was no violence and no one was injured.”