A COUNCILLOR has had his internet access removed after a cross-party panel found him guilty of using it to view pornographic and offensive material.

Clr Robert Bleakley was found through the council’s IT monitoring process to have accessed pornographic material on his Wigan Council IT equipment on a regular basis.

After hearing the evidence, the cross-party panel agreed that Clr Bleakley had broken the council’s IT policy and breached paragraphs five and six of the members' Code of Conduct.

Clr Bleakley’s access to the internet via the council’s provider will now be removed and he will undergo coaching to address his behaviour.

Clr Terry Halliwell, whose portfolio covers standards issues, said: “I’m pleased with the panel’s decision; there is no doubt in my mind that Clr Bleakley’s actions constitute a breach of the code.

“This is the second hearing against Clr Bleakley this year and just one of many complaints lodged against him because of his behaviour.”

The independent ward member for Tyldesley did not attend the standards hearing on March 26 and appointed Peter Franzen, a former Wigan clr, to represent him.

The panel, which consisted of chair of the Standards Committee Clr Charles Rigby, Clr Jim Ellis and Clr Jeanette Prescott, decided there was sufficient information to proceed without him.

“Most people would have learnt their lesson by now, but not Clr Bleakley. Instead he decided to use his council provided computer, given to him to contact his constituents, to view sordid material at the cost of local taxpayers. I hope this latest scandal encourages him to sort out his behaviour once and for all,” said Clr Halliwell.

Clr Bleakley said: "This is nothing more than a vendetta against me and a continuation of the politically motivated bullying and harassment of opposition councillors by certain officers and some Labour councillors.”