Norfolk

Attleborough Town Council 'like a scene from the Godfather'

Attleborough Image copyright Geograph/Adrian Cable
Image caption "Behind its Miss Marple image, picture-postcard Attleborough is more like a scene from The Godfather", a Unite official said

Bullying and harassment of council staff have left a "picture-postcard" market town "like a scene from The Godfather", a union has claimed.

Unite alleges staff of Attleborough Town Council in Norfolk have faced "a systemic and sustained campaign of bullying" from two councillors.

The allegations triggered a meeting to remove two councillors which had to be adjourned amid a public protest.

Both councillors "categorically deny" the allegations.

A vote to consider dismissing two councillors - Taila Taylor and Edward Tyrer - led to "chaotic scenes" after approximately 50 members of the public refused to leave, despite the council voting to exclude the press and public while the allegations were discussed and voted on, said the union.

The meeting was adjourned after they refused to leave and Attleborough Mayor Tony Crouch said protesters acted "like a mob".

The town council said it had no option but to remove the public because "a delicate human resources issue" was being discussed.

Miles Hubbard, Unite regional officer, said the alleged bullying was "an unprovoked vendetta" by a minority of councillors.

'Outbursts in meetings'

Both councillors denied the allegations were true.

Mr Hubbard said there had been "persistent insulting and libellous postings on social media, belittling outbursts in public meetings and face to face verbal attacks" on staff while they were carrying out their work.

Ms Taylor told the BBC: "I believe them to be untrue. I have not ever sworn at or threatened any member of council staff."

Mr Tyrer said the allegations "were categorically untrue".

Norfolk Police said officers attended the meeting "as a precaution" to prevent any potential breach of the peace and that no arrests were made.

Referring to the mafia movie, Mr Hubbard said: "Behind its Miss Marple image, picture-postcard Attleborough is more like a scene from The Godfather."

Another extraordinary meeting will be held at a later date.

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