A PROMINENT minister has been suspended from his role following a “serious complaint” against him.

Last night the Rev Phil Mason, of Bolton Methodist Mission, said he did not know the nature of the complaint and Methodist Church leaders refused to reveal any details about the allegations.

The minister ceased his duties at Victoria Hall, in Knowsley Street, in June. An announcement was made at the time saying this was due to stress and personal circumstances.

But Mr Mason has now been suspended following an allegation made to the church.

A spokesman for the Methodist Church said the suspension was a standard procedure and did not mean the allegations were necessarily true.

Mr Mason, who is also Bolton Wanderers’ club chaplain, told The Bolton News he could not comment on the claim, but added that he had not been well and was taking some time off.

He said: “I’m being supported by the church. I am taking a sabbatical as do a lot of ministers, but I will be back.”

Karen Burke, media officer for the Methodist Church, said: “An announcement was made on June 20 that referred to stress and personal circumstances of the Rev Phil Mason and that, for the foreseeable future, he would not be fulfilling his role as a Methodist minister.

“We now regret to confirm that Phil has been suspended from all his duties as a Methodist minister following a complaint being made against him.

“Suspension is standard procedure in such cases and does not presume guilt.

“We cannot discuss the matter further while our procedures run their proper course, but we are offering pastoral support to all those affected by this matter.

“We ask that people respect their privacy during this difficult time.”

The Bolton News asked the Methodist Church about the nature of the complaint.

A spokesman said the church could not reveal its nature, but said it was a “serious complaint”.

Mr Mason said he did not know the nature of the complaint.

A spokesman for Bolton Wanderers said: “We are aware of the suspension and the matter is being dealt with by the Methodist Church.”