THE MAN chosen to fight Lincolnshire’s police and crime commissioner race for the Labour Party has stood down after revealing he has a conviction for an offence committed 44 years ago.
Phil Dilks was fined £5 in 1968 for handling stolen goods following an incident he describes as a ‘school boy prank’.
He took legal advice on the matter and has now stood down from the race.
He said: “I have now received legal guidance, and following further clarifications from the Home Office and the Electoral Commission, it has become clear that because of what happened more than four decades ago, I must now step down as a prospective candidate in these elections.
“Some 44 years ago, I was one of a group of lads on scooters visiting a mate in hospital. I believe it was in the school summer holidays in 1968 when I was 16.
“As we left the car park to go home, one of the lads stupidly picked up an old crash helmet that wasn’t his.
“We all went back to my family home to mess about as teenagers do. Unknown to me, the helmet was left in our garage. The police never found out who took it, but because it was found in our garage, I was charged with handling stolen goods.
“I was a Sunday school teacher at the time and my vicar went with me and gave a character statement on my behalf.
“I’m advised that it is unlikely case records still exist. But it would not be honest of me to pretend it never happened. “
Mr Dilks says he is ‘deeply disappointed’ not to be able to stand and pointed to his record of public service - serving in the Territoral Army for almost 20 years and working for the local community as a councillor for 17 years - as evidence of his character.
Mr Dilks said: “I trust those who know me will judge me on my work over a lifetime rather than what resulted in a £5 fine in the 1960’s.
“I will offer my full support to the new Labour candidate to be Lincolnshire’s first Police and Crime Commissioner. The last thing the people of Lincolnshire need is another Tory cheerleader for more devastating cuts to police funding.”
The new Labour candidate will be announced on Monday.
Boston borough councillor Paul Gleeson was narrowly pipped to the post for the party’s nomination and is favourite to get the role following Mr Dilks’ withdrawal.