Mayor of Peterlee resigns after being charged with grooming boy

Lee Cook.
Lee Cook.

The mayor of Peterlee has resigned from his position after he appeared in court today to face a sex charge allegation.

Councillor Lee Cook, from Peterlee, is charged with attempting to meeting a boy under the age of 16 following sexual grooming, on Saturday.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court.

The 29-year-old town councillor appeared before Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court this morning.

The bench heard he indicated a guilty plea.

The case was committed to be heard at Durham Crown Court, where he will appear on Friday, August 25, for sentence.

He was given bail on the condition he is not to have unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 16, directly or indirectly, including social media.

Peterlee Town Council have since confirmed that Councillor Cook has resigned from his position on the council and is no longer a councillor.

A spokesman for the authority said: “Peterlee Town Council is aware that an individual, Lee Cook, who previously served as chairman of Peterlee Town Council was arrested over the weekend.

“Lee resigned from his post as councillor this morning and is no longer a member of Peterlee Town Council.

“We will co-operate fully with the police in any investigation, and in the interests of justice will be making no further comment on this issue at the present time.”

A spokesman for the North East Party, which he represents as a member for the Edenhill area of the town, issued a statement after the arrest at the weekend.

It said: "The North East Party has become aware of the arrest of one of our members.

"We have no prior knowledge or information about this matter and have acted immediately to suspend the person concerned while any police inquiry or legal process takes place.

"Senior North East Party members have also taken immediate action to ensure that all the work of the party continues on the basis of 'business as usual'.

"In the interests of justice the North East Party will be making no further comment at this time."

A spokesman for Durham Police said earlier today: "A 29-year-old man from Peterlee has been charged with attempting to meet a boy under the age of 16 following sexual grooming.

"Lee Cook, of Quantock Place, is due to appear at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court today."

Peterlee Town Council's website states: "The Mayor of Peterlee, who is also chairman of the Ccouncil, is elected for one year at the town’s annual general meeting which is held in May."

It adds: "The mayor acts as the figurehead of the council and represents the town at numerous events throughout the region.

"In addition to representing the town, the mayor also raises money for local charities during their year of office."