Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston calls for investigation after financial charges dropped

Andy Preston will no longer stand trial after the charges against him were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service. Credit: Middlesbrough Council

The former elected mayor of Middlesbrough will no longer face criminal proceedings after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropped the charges against him.

Andy Preston was due to appear at Teesside Magistrates' Court next week on four charges of failing to disclose financial interests to the council while he was mayor.

He is now calling for a full investigation into what happened, describing it as a waste of police time.

Mr Preston was in office from May 2019 to May 2023 as an independent candidate.

Complaints about his conduct were first made to Middlesbrough Council in 2021 but their report concluded no rules or laws. The complaint was then passed on to Cleveland Police and he was charged last week.

He could have faced an unlimited fine if found guilty.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Preston described the complaint as "bogus" and designed to "create bad headlines".

He added: "Anyone reading this should be very concerned - not for me but for others - this will happen again. So we need to make sure that proper training and monitoring of police and CPS happens fast.

"I am calling for a full investigation into this episode which has cost the police and the CPS a lot of money and wasted everyone’s time."

A CPS spokesperson has confirmed the charges against him have been dropped after a review of the available evidence.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “In all criminal cases it is the duty of prosecutors to continuously review all available evidence. At each stage, any case must be supported by sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, and it must also be in the public interest to proceed with a prosecution.

“After the charges had been brought in this case, the Crown Prosecution Service received additional relevant information from those representing Mr Preston.

"We conducted a further review of the case with the inclusion of this material and found insufficient evidence to support any criminal charges. We then took the appropriate decision to discontinue the case against Mr Preston.”

A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: “Cleveland Police has a legal duty to investigate any case brought to the attention of the force.

“Where there are lines of enquiry, a thorough investigation is undertaken and all relevant evidence is submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

“We are satisfied that in this case, we fulfilled our duty by conducting a comprehensive investigation, in line with the relevant legislation, and presenting the case to the CPS.

“Any subsequent decision around the case being discontinued is a matter for the CPS”.

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