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Aberavon councillor Mark Jones charged with cannabis possession

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: June 01, 2014

Mark Jones.

A PORT Talbot councillor has been charged with drug and tax evasion offences it has emerged.

Labour's Mark Jones, who represents the Aberavon ward, was arrested in November on suspicion of drug offences.

He was released on police bail pending further inquiries, and at that time was suspended from the Welsh Labour Party.

Now South Wales Police have confirmed the councillor has been charged with two offences, and will appear in court next month.

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A South Wales Police spokesman said: "Police have charged 45-year- old Stephen Mark Jones, of Castle Street, Port Talbot, with possession of cannabis and an offence of fraudulently evading duty.

"He has been bailed to appear at Swansea Magistrates Court on June 12."

The second charge relates to non-payment of taxes for items bought over the internet.

A Welsh Labour spokesman said: "Mark Jones has been suspended from the Labour Party, pending further investigation."

Head of legal services at Neath Port Talbot Council David Michael said he had not been suspended a councillor.

He added: "A serving councillor becomes disqualified if he or she is convicted of a criminal offence and is sentenced to a period of imprisonment, whether suspended or not, for a period of not less than three months.

"Also, if the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales receives a complaint of a breach of the Members' Code of Conduct, the Ombudsman may refer a matter to the Adjudication Panel for Wales or the council's own standards committee. The standards committee has power to suspend a member, but only on referral from the Ombudsman and no referral has been received. We have been informed that Councillor Jones has been suspended from participation in the council's Labour group by that group."

Mr Jones was voted onto the council in the May 2012 elections and replaced a Social Democratic Party councillor.

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