Scarborough's £22m loan documents leak: Police say 'we're not investigating'

The building that housed Argos and other stores is set to be demolished
The building that housed Argos and other stores is set to be demolished

North Yorkshire Police has said it is not currently investigating a leak of confidential documents from Scarborough Council.

The authority’s legal director Lisa Dixon last week said the force’s cybercrime unit was taking on the matter after confidential documents showing the council would borrow £22m to fund a town centre regeneration scheme appeared online.

When asked by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, North Yorkshire Police today said it had not launched a criminal investigation.

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A spokesman for the force said: “We are not currently investigating this matter.” They declined to make any further statement.

Mrs Dixon told a meeting of the council’s Audit Committee last Thursday that the council had concluded that the leak of the documents could amount to misconduct in public office, a criminal offence which in the most serious cases can carry a punishment of life imprisonment.

She said the council had brought in the force’s cybercrime unit and the investigation was “in their hands”.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that while North Yorkshire Police has been made aware of the potential offence it is not actively participating in any criminal investigation and would require more evidence from Scarborough Council before it would get involved.

At the Audit Committee meeting, councillors were also told that the council had handed over a number of documents to the police following the leak.

The leaked documents which appeared online showed the financial implications of a large regeneration project after the council approved the purchase and demolition of the former Argos building in Newborough to create accommodation for 200 university students and trainee nurses and doctors in partnership with the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The documents revealed the council would almost double its debt by borrowing £22m to fund the project in which it will also partner with developer Wrenbridge Land Ltd and CU Scarborough, the town’s university.

It also showed the developer would make more than double the profit of the council under the terms of the agreement.