TV star Noel Edmonds has accused Avon and Somerset Police of a cover-up involving 'bent coppers'.

The former Deal or No Deal host, along with other victims of an alleged multi-million pound banking scam, accused Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens of failing to hold the force to account at a heated public meeting on Tuesday.

In a written statement to the police and crime panel, Mr Edmonds claimed there had been 'systemic criminality' at Lloyds Banking Group headquarters in Bristol and widespread 'collusion' to conceal it, amid allegations the company forced businesses to close in order to recover millions of pounds in loans and fees.

Lloyds set aside £100million in compensation for victims of a major fraud at HBOS, which it subsequently took over, but has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing regarding its Bristol operations.

Corrupt financiers from HBOS in Reading were jailed in 2017 for the £245million loans scam which destroyed numerous businesses, including Edmonds' firm Unique Group.

Despite an offer by Thames Valley PCC Anthony Stansfeld to assist its investigations, Avon and Somerset Police declined and insisted it had found no evidence of crime at Lloyds in Bristol.

But after an appeal for help by victims the police and crime panel has now agreed to launch its own inquiry.

Panel member Councillor Afzal Shah said:  “In terms of the Serious Fraud Office and National Crime Agency, having looked at all the evidence they’ve not deemed that there is a case here.”

But the panel promised to investigate, with Cllr Mark Shelford telling Mr Mealham: “We will take away both your statement and the background evidence we’ve got so for and make a deliberation in private.

“I think there are questions to answer and I would be keen to ask the office of the commissioner if we could have access to the police branch that did the investigation and talk to those officers to bottom out some of these questions.”

Ms Mountstevens said: “The police have considered the allegations and found there is no evidence of a criminal offence.

“I’ve had assurances from the Chief Constable that the police will continue to evaluate any correspondence from individuals who are unhappy with the outcomes, and wherever new evidence is received the police will investigate it.”

In his statement, Mr Edmonds said: “The evidence I’ve amassed concurs… that there has been a deliberate cover-up of systemic criminality by Lloyds Bank employees in Bristol headquarters.

“Furthermore, I’ve seen evidence which strongly suggests the criminal behaviour has been conducted on an industrial scale and involves the collusion of other authorities in the Avon and Somerset territory."