A COUNCILLOR has been suspended after police launched an investigation into how confidential voting documents ended up being dumped on open land in Bury.

Labour took the action against Redvales representative Tamoor Tariq after ballot papers and voting intentions of hundreds of people were found by a member of the public on a patch of land in Brandlesholme.

Cllr Tariq has apologised for his role in the blunder and has agreed to co-operate fully with officers probing the case.

Meanwhile, residents living near to the land on which the private papers were dumped said more should be done to clamp down on the problem.

They alerted Bury Council last Thursday ( September 9) after spotting a large amount of sensitive material that had been fly-tipped on land close to Brandlesholme Old Hall.

The material, seen by the Bury Times, included: — election canvas sheets containing hundreds of names and addresses of Redvales residents and details of how they intended to vote at the last election — postal General Election ballot papers — a confidential letter from the Governors of the Derby High School — documents and letters addressed to Cllr Tariq at his home in Gigg Lane, Bury — unopened letters addressed to another occupant of the same address — Ibruprofen drugs prescribed to Mr Tariq’s brother, Qasim Tariq.

— election publicity material, including Labour posters and leaflets — food takeaway waste Cllr Tariq said he did not dump the documents, but admitted he could have done more to protect them.

In a statement, he said: “This is a genuine mistake which took place when I was in hospital for two weeks and I am currently waiting for further medical tests.

“My family are not very political. They did not realise the importance of this information and a member of my family has thrown away confidential information.

“I am co-operating fully in trying to resolve the situation and to ensure nothing like this happens again.

“I would like to apologise unreservedly for the distress that this may have caused to the residents of Redvales.”

A Bury police spokesman said: “A number of documents have been received by Greater Manchester Police after being recovered from Brandlesholme on September 9.

“They have been examined and a joint investigation has been launched with Bury Council.

“Inquiries are currently under way to establish whether any crime has been committed.”

A Bury Council spokesman added: “We have been informed of a fly-tipping incident at Brandlesholme Hall and we are investigating the matter.”

A North West Labour Party spokesperson said: “We take data protection and people’s privacy extremely seriously and as a result of these allegations, the councillor in question has been suspended.”

Leila Baldwin, aged 59, who lives off Brandlesholme Road, said: “Fly-tipping has been going on here for too long and we really want it to stop.

“The council does a good job in that its staff always come out to collect the rubbish once we report it.

“We are not sure what the council or the police can do to stop this, but we would really like some discussion on what can be done.”

Bury Council have taken out several prosecutions in court against suspected fly-tippers.

And the Information Commission imposes extra rules on political parties handling campaigning material under the Data Protection Act 1998.

In guidance documents, the commission tells politicians they must “ensure you do not keep information for longer than necessary to fulfil these purposes, that you keep the information secure and delete or securely destroy information when it has served its purpose.”

In May, Cllr Tariq, who is now aged 20, became Bury’s youngest ever councillor at the age of 19. He got 2,357 votes. His nearest rival, Conservative candidate Khalid Hussain, received 1,492 votes.