COUNTY NEWS: Former Sussex councillor arrested for child sex offence

A former Sussex councillor, who recently announced his sudden resignation, was arrested on suspicion of a child sex offence, it has been revealed.
Matthew J Lock SUS-140523-035802001Matthew J Lock SUS-140523-035802001
Matthew J Lock SUS-140523-035802001

Matthew Julian Lock said he decided to step down at the end of May due to ‘personal problems’ and ‘ill health’.

But it has been revealed Lock, who was also involved with the Scouts, has been on police bail for seven months while police investigate allegations of inciting a 15-year-old boy to engage in sexual activity.

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The 38-year-old is on police bail until August 10 and has been suspended from all involvement with the Scouts.

A by-election is being held next Thursday (July 9) for his seat in St Helens ward, Hastings, due to his resignation.

A spokesman for the Scout Association said: “We are aware of the police investigation of Matthew Julian Lock.

“The Scout Association is currently co-operating fully with the statutory agencies in support of their investigation.

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“Lock was suspended from any form of contact with the movement as soon as we were made aware by the statutory agencies in November, 2014.

“We can confirm that Lock was a volunteer in Sussex until he was suspended.

“The Scout Association carries out stringent vetting of all adults who work with young people and requires them to work to strict guidelines outlined in the Young People First Code of Good Practice.

“As this investigation is ongoing, it would not be appropriate for The Scout Association to offer further comment at this time.”

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Kevin Boorman, spokesman for Hastings Borough Council, said: “Matthew J Lock resigned as Conservative group leader on December 17, 2014, and as a councillor on May 19 this year.

“We were made aware late last year that former councillor Matthew J Lock had been questioned by the police in connection with these alleged offences but no charges had been made at that time.

“Indeed, no charges had been made up to the time he resigned as a councillor.

“We cannot make any further comment as to what action we took in connection with an individual case, but every case is judged on its merits, and action is taken as considered appropriate in relation to its particular circumstances.”

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As reported in a statement issued following his resignation, Lock said: “Members will be aware that over the last six months I have had some personal problems.

“These have yet to be resolved and have made it very difficult for me to meet my commitment to effectively represent my constituents as well as the wider duties of being a councillor.

“Regretfully, I have concluded that it is necessary to stand down from my role as councillor for St Helens ward.

“I would like to thank everyone for their kind words of support and look forward to being of active service for our community in the future.”

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