THE former council leader at the centre of a four-year investigation that was dropped last week is demanding an inquiry into Cheshire Police’s ‘aggressive behaviour’.

Prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to make a charge following a four-year investigation into allegations of Cheshire East Council awarding an £84,000 contract to Corefit, run by then-council leader Michael Jones’ physiotherapist Amanda Weston, without due process.

The scandal led to the resignation of Mr Jones as CEC leader in December 2015, and he says the time taken for the probe that followed caused significant and unfair damage to his reputation.

Now, Mr Jones has written to the Independent Police Complaints Commissioner and to David Keane, Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner, requesting an urgent inquiry.

He said: “It saddens me greatly that so much time and money has been wasted on this spurious investigation by Cheshire Police and it is no surprise that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has agreed that neither I or Amanda Weston at Corefit have a case to answer.

“I am greatly concerned that others in Cheshire are at risk of a similarly vindictive investigation and for that reason I have decided to call for an urgent inquiry into the conduct and aggressive behaviour of the police.”

The issue was first reported to police in December 2015, with a file of evidence passed onto the CPS in May 2018.

Mr Jones believes the investigation will have cost taxpayers more than £1 million based on the input that will have gone into it over more than four years.

Ms Weston has also criticised the probe, insisting it is a ‘real tragedy that Corefit has spent so long in limbo during this fruitless investigation’.

In a statement, Cheshire Police said it could not confirm the cost of the investigation, but said it was ‘important that the necessary time and care is taken’ to complete such a complex investigation.

A spokesman at Cheshire Police said: “It is the duty of the police to properly investigate serious allegations of fraud and misconduct in a public office.

“We are not aware of a formal complaint being submitted by the CPS about our handling of the case – in fact, on completion of the review, the CPS was very complimentary of the investigation and the file that had been prepared for them.”

Cheshire Police investigations into five other matters involving CEC are continuing.