A candidate for the local elections was forced to pay more than £2,000 after repeatedly keying a man’s car following a dispute two years ago.

Paul Heywood encountered Mark Bailey, a candidate for the Farnworth and Kearsley First party, back in May 2022.

The 60-year-old said he was driving when he saw Mr Bailey, who was cycling.

According to Mr Heywood, he then told Mr Bailey that "signals aren’t only for cars mate", and an argument ensued, followed by a physical fight where the two exchanged blows.

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He said: “I defended myself, gave him a good smack and he ended up on his arse on the floor.”

Months later, in September 2022, Mr Heywood noticed his car had a scratch on its door – something he assumed was caused by a car wash.

However, when another scratch appeared, his suspicions grew.

Mr Heywood then checked his home CCTV system – installed after a dispute over a fence with previous neighbours.

He said: “I look it up and there he is, scratching the car.

“It happens again on September 27, September 29, October 6, and October 7 – all reported to the police.

“After the one on the 27th, I changed my system to a five-megapixel system – the old one is 720p – the new one’s a five-megapixel system, which the police were very impressed with.”

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Following a conditional caution, Farnworth North candidate Mr Bailey was forced to pay Mr Heywood a sum of £2,327.67 for repairs in December of that year, for the offence of "criminal damage to property valued under £5,000".

The Bolton News: Mark Bailey had to pay Paul more than £2,300 due to the incidentsMark Bailey had to pay Paul more than £2,300 due to the incidents (Image: Paul Heywood)

A self-described fan of the Farnworth and Kearsley First Party, Mr Heywood, who has lived in his Rawson Street home for 24 years, was dismayed that Mr Bailey was not removed as a candidate after he informed them of the dispute.

He added: “As soon as I saw this guy was up for being a candidate, I made contact.

“I’ve been a champion of the Farnworth and Kearsley First party since they started – I volunteered to deliver and everything, I thought great, let’s get a fresh start.”

However, Mr Heywood says his complaint was not acted upon, and he was blocked from the party’s Facebook page after contacting the party.

Now, he has said he is worried Mark will win the election, and that part of his council tax will go to his allowance.

In response a Farnworth and Kearsley First spokesperson said: “In 2022, Mr Heywood and Mark were involved in a road disagreement.

“Mark was cycling home from work, and Mr Heywood was driving his car. A heated exchange of views reportedly followed in which Mark ended beaten to the ground.

"The police were called, but due to it being one word against the other, no action was taken.

“Mark was devastated with the lack of outcome. The incident left Mark suffering with depression and anxiety.

“Regretfully and out of character, while poorly, Mark caused damage to Mr Heywood's car.

“Mark held his hands up and was given a conditional caution, rightly made to pay compensation of £2,300 in full to Mr Heywood, and to also apologise.

“Mark fulfilled all of these conditions and received counselling. It is important to stress that Mark does not have any criminal convictions.

“Mark admits that this isolated incident was an idiotic moment in his life, which he wholeheartedly regrets and sincerely apologises for.

“Mark has excelled in being an early years educator and works with special educational needs students in Bolton.

“Mark has been a volunteer litter picker locally for over two years, and he helps deliver food to underprivileged youth across Greater Manchester.”

“Farnworth and Kearsley First believe that everybody deserves a second chance to put things right and prove themselves to be a force for good for their local community. We can learn and grow from past mistakes.”

Mr Heywood, however, called the statement "a load of tosh" and says he has never received an apology for the incident.

If you have a story, I cover the whole borough of Bolton. Please get in touch at jack.fifield@newsquest.co.uk.

12 noon, 22/04/2024: This article has been updated. A line originally read "However, Mr Heywood says his complaint was not acted upon, and he was blocked from the party’s Facebook page after posting the videos publicly." It has been changed to: "However, Mr Heywood says his complaint was not acted upon, and he was blocked from the party’s Facebook page after contacting the party."