Councillor arrested over cabinet theft claims

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A HARTLEPOOL councillor spent six hours in a police cell after being arrested over allegations she stole two bedside cabinets.

Labour councillor Angie Wilcox was arrested at home on suspicion of theft and the cabinets were seized by officers, but the 50-year-old is adamant she has done nothing wrong.

The dispute with her former landlord dates back to October 27 last year when Coun Wilcox moved from Fenton Road to a new house in Grange Avenue, Hartlepool.

Coun Wilcox claims the cabinets were accidentally removed from the Fenton Road address by a removal firm, and claims she emailed the letting agents two days later to inform them and ask how she could return the cabinets as she no longer had the keys.

The mum-of-one - who said her name has been “dragged through the mud” since she was arrested - claims she heard nothing back until the police knocked on her door last Friday.

But a spokesman for the letting agents, acting on behalf of the landlord, said they had not received an email.

The allegations have been made by a private landlord, and Coun Wilcox has been released on bail by police pending further enquiries.

Coun Wilcox said: “I have never been in this position before, this is totally alien to me and very uncomfortable.

“I feel like my name has not only been been dragged through the mud, but pushed through the hedge and hit by a double decker bus.

“I am working with the police to clear my name, as these allegations are totally unfounded.”

Coun Wilcox added: “If I was going to steal something, why would I send an email?

“I just feel this is a waste of police resources.”

Coun Wilcox, who represents the Manor House ward on Hartlepool Borough Council, was arrested at 4.50pm on Friday, February 8 at her home in Grange Avenue.

Coun Wilcox added: “I pointed the cabinets out to the removal men but they said they had another job and didn’t have time to take them back to the property.

“That was on the Saturday, and on the Monday I emailed the letting agents to let them know they had been taken in error and asked how to get them back as I didn’t have a key.

“I didn’t hear anything back until last Friday when I got a visit from the police and I was arrested.

“I was locked up for six hours and then interviewed.”

Coun Wilcox said she also received a letter on Friday informing her that the landlord intended to pursue the matter through the County Courts.

It is understood the private landlord is an ex-pat living in the Middle East, but was not contactable.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “A 50-year-old woman from Hartlepool has been arrested in connection with theft and has been released on bail pending further enquiries.”

Coun Wilcox, who is elected until 2015, is a former Brierton School pupil and has worked in the voluntary sector for 30 years and is the manager of Manor Residents’ Association, in Kilmarnock Road.

Current council responsibilities include being vice chair of children’s services scrutiny and south and central neighbourhood forums, a member of scrutiny co-ordinating committee and adult and community services scrutiny forum.

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “It would be wholly inappropriate to make any comment while a police investigation is ongoing.”

A spokesman for the letting agents did not wish to comment but did confirm they had not received an email and said if Coun Wilcox could provide a copy they would look at it.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Labour Party said it would be inappropriate to comment while investigations are on-going.