Child porn swoop on councillor

A Wigan councillor has been arrested on suspicion of having child porn on his computer.

Police swooped on Coun Joe Shaw minutes before he was due to attend a planning meeting at the Town Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

They had received a tip-off that there were indecent images on the computer at his home in Avondale Street, Standish.

Officers initially tried to arrest the 40-year-old father there but discovered that he was out on site visits with the committee, so they went to the Town Hall to await his arrival.

Coun Shaw, who also serves on the Metro's licensing and regulation committees as well as Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority, went with officers back to his house where the hard drive of his computer was seized for examination.

After being quizzed by police, he was released on bail pending further inquiries.

His failure to appear at the planning meeting puzzled members who had been with him earlier in the day.

Its chairman, Metro deputy leader Coun John O'Neill, today spoke of his surprise: "From a personal point of view, this comes as a great shock to me.

"I have always found Coun Shaw a very nice, kind and amenable person and a conscientious member of the council."

Dismay

Elected to Wigan Council in 2005, Coun Shaw, who is unemployed, represents Wigan West ward.

He is a member of the Standish-based North West Amateur Radio Club.

He lives alone, having separated from his wife.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said today: "A 40-year-old man was arrested on July 17 on suspicion of possession of indecent images.

"He has since been bailed until January 21, 2008, pending further inquiries.

Coun Shaw was today unavailable for comment. A spokesman for Wigan Council also declined to comment.