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Ex-chair of the Co-op bank, Paul Flowers, charged with possessing illegal drugs

The former chairman of the Co-op bank and clergyman Paul Flowers has been charged with possessing illegal drugs.

Reverand Flowers, a methodist minister from Bradford, called the media vultures as he arrived at a police station in Leeds to find out the decision of prosecutors. He'll now appear in court next month accused of possessing drugs including cocaine and crystal meth. Jon Hill reports.

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Paul Flowers bailed on drugs charges

West Yorkshire Police say they have bailed Paul Flowers after charging him with possession of class A and C drugs.

West Yorkshire Police Credit: Press Association

Mr Flowers was arrested by officers from West Yorkshire Police in the Liverpool area last year.

The Methodist minister stepped down as the bank's chairman in June, amid claims of illegal drug use and inappropriate expenses payments.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "Paul Flowers, 63, of Hollingwood Drive, Bradford, has been charged with two offences of possession of a class A drug and one offence of possession of a class C drug.

"He has been bailed to appear before Leeds magistrates on May 7."

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CPS: Flowers charges 'in the public interest'

The Crown Prosecution Service says it has "carefully considered a file of evidence" gathered by police following newspaper allegations against former Co-op Bank chairman Paul Flowers.

Clare Stevens, from CPS Yorkshire and Humberside’s Complex Casework Unit, said she believed "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 9 November 2013".

Mr Flowers has been charged with possession of cocaine, methamphetamine and ketamine, the CPS said.

Co-op to sell Louth farm

The Co-op is to sell its farming assets and will consider the future of its pharmacy business as part of plans to revive the troubled mutual.

Press Association

The group, which is reportedly set to announce losses of £2 billion in results for 2013 due next month, has started the process of selling the agriculture business, which features 15 farms and three packing sites, one of which is based in Louth.

It also confirmed that it is exploring options on the pharmacy business, including the sale of all or part of the operation. The division is one of the UK's three largest pharmacy chains, with 750 branches and 6,500 staff.

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Police issue image of Co-op theft suspect

Co-op theft suspect

North Yorkshire Police have released a CCTV image of a suspect following a commercial burglary near the town. It occurred at the Co-op store on Broadway, Colburn.

Three men entered the store and one of the them entered a part of the premises not open to the public. He then stole approximately £850. It is believed that one of the men had a Newcastle accent.

PC Wendy King, of Richmond Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “It is possible that the two men with the thief didn’t realise that he had stolen anything. If this is the case I ask them to come forward and identify him.

“I also need to speak to anyone who recognises the man and ask them to get in touch as soon as possible.”