THE chief fire officer in Gloucestershire has resigned after an internal investigation because of the sale of a fire service vehicle.

Gloucestershire County Council’s group leaders have revealed a whistleblowing letter triggered the chain of events that led to the news.

An investigation, launched by the county council’s chief executive, Peter Bungard, said Mr Edgar made 'poor judgement' over the vehicle’s disposal.

It is believed that he sold a service Land Rover to a family member.

The leader of the county council Mark Hawthorne said an internal audit investigation was launched after a whistleblower alleged there had been misconduct.

Staff and councillors were alerted about the resignation at noon today by an email from Mr Bungard.

Mr Hawthorne (Quedgeley, Con) said: “I recently received a whistleblowing email regarding the disposal of a fire service vehicle. This was immediately passed to the chief executive, who in turn triggered an internal audit investigation regarding the allegations.

“As a result of those investigations initial findings, the chief fire officer has tended his resignation with immediate effect. This is the right thing for him to do given the serious nature of the allegations made and the outcome of that investigation.

“While his departure is regrettable given his previous outstanding contribution to our county, his actions have made his continued employment untenable.”

Liberal Democrat leader Paul Hodgkinson said: ““I – like many councillors – am very disappointed with what has happened.

"It was only last week that we were applauding Stewart Edgar for receiving an OBE for public service.

"But now we hear that he has made a huge error of judgement and has resigned immediately. Gloucestershire’s Fire Service has a very good reputation but Mr Edgar’s departure relied on a whistleblower to raise issues – I applaud that person for coming forward.

“Why do we need whistleblowers to reveal information about failures at the council? We had the same issue with Children’s Services when there was shock and surprise at the ‘Inadequate’ rating last year after the truth was exposed – I’m now even more concerned about the council’s culture where we’re told constantly that all is well and it turns out it really wasn’t at all.”

Labour leader Lesley Williams added her surprised comments to those of the other leaders saying: “I do not really know anymore about it other than the email. I am surprised.”

It is understood that Mr Edgar has deleted all social media accounts following his shock departure.