Parliamentary candidate lodges complaint against Cleveland Police claiming force 'interfered' with campaign

Mark Alan Baxtrem who has made a complaint about the force
-Credit: (Image: Mark Alan Baxtrem)

An election candidate on Teesside has lodged a complaint with Cleveland Police, claiming the force has "directly interfered" with his campaign.

Mark Baxtrem said he has been arrested twice in the past two months and two of his vehicles have been seized, but states no charges have been brought against him. These actions are preventing him from conducting "a full and fair campaign", he said.

Mr Baxtrem said he believes he is being "harassed" and has lodged a complaint with the force. Cleveland Police said it would be "inappropriate" to comment on Mr Baxtrem's claims during the pre-election period.

Born in Middlesbrough and now living in Redcar, Mr Baxtrem is standing as an independent prospective parliamentary candidate for the Middlesbrough and Thornaby East constituency.

"I don't know why I have a relationship with Cleveland Police like I do because honestly I'm a hardworking lad, I'm at church every Sunday," the former environmental engineer and volunteer firefighter said. "I'm a bit of a handful and I'm full of attitude but I'm not a criminal.

"I've somehow set a flag with Cleveland Police that just gets me arrested, detained and messed about all the time which is why I display some attitude whenever I encounter them." He told how was recently arrested when police pulled him over and found a Stanley knife in the boot of his car.

Mr Baxtrem claims he used the knife for the callouses on his feet but says he was arrested and taken into custody for 12 hours. "Eventually my solicitor got me out but I was supposed to take my 93-year-old mother to a concert that day," he said. "I keep getting pulled up.

"I have not broken any laws that would require either my detention nor have I been knowingly driving any of my company cars illegally. They've seized two vehicles off me recently that would either have provided finance or transport as part of my campaign.

"They are not accessible to me and consequently I believe Cleveland Police, deliberately or otherwise, are interfering with this election. I am bailed and one of the conditions of my bail is there are areas of Middlesbrough I'm not allowed to enter on penalty of arrest.

"I have already reported this interference to both my returning officers team and to the electoral services team themselves - the latter suggest that I should report these matters to Cleveland Police." Mr Baxtrem said he has spoken to police, outlining his complaint, and has asked for a senior officer to speak to him over his concerns.

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: "Cleveland Police is aware of comments made on social media by Mr Baxtrem, who is running as a candidate in the July 2024 election. Due to the pre-election period it would be inappropriate for us to comment specifically on the issues raised by Mr Baxtrem at this stage. Mr Baxtrem is able to make a formal complaint about the issues he raises should he wish to."

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