Hereford & Worcester

Fire service boss Mark Yates returns back surgery funds

A chief fire officer has returned £3,000 of taxpayers' money used to help pay for private surgery.

Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue's Mark Yates put the payment towards a £5,090 back operation.

It was suggested he should consider resigning but the brigade said the partial reimbursement cost less than paying somebody else to cover his role.

Mr Yates said he had returned the sum because he did not want the issue to harm the service's reputation.

"It has become apparent that the payment I received has left some staff and members of the public disappointed," he said.

"It was never my intention to cause such feelings and I do not wish for this matter to cause further controversy and potentially harm the great reputation of the service - I have therefore repaid the £3,000."

Labour councillor Peter McDonald had said Mr Yates, who earns £120,000 a year, should think about stepping down after the news emerged in the Worcester News.

"The fire chief has done the right thing," he said.

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