THE youngest councillor elected to Herefordshire Council has resigned after being caught with an “illegal substance” in Hereford.

It’s Our County confirmed the resignation of Councillor Alex Hempton-Smith last night. The resignation will take effect from Friday, September 27.

In a statement, Coun Hempton-Smith said he had been forced to “confront the realities” of his situation having suffered from acute depression for some time. He now intends to “travel the world” having “seen clearly how to put things right”.

Coun Hempton-Smith was caught in possession of a small quantity of an illegal substance in August this year and received a police caution.

Coun Hempton-Smith was elected to Herefordshire Council’s Tupsley ward in 2011 aged just 19 and only nine months after IOC was formed.

Outgoing IOC leader Councillor Mark Hubbard said Coun Hempton-Smith had been  “fundamental” to the party’s social media strategy and website development, acknowledged as well ahead of the council’s other political groups.

“Since 2011 Alex has understandably found it very challenging to manage the workload and expectations placed on a unitary authority councillor.

Uniquely as a councillor, being at the beginning of his working life and without other means of financial support, Alex has had to combine his council work with full time employment and the forging of a new career in marketing,” said Coun Hubbard.

New IOC leader Councillor Anthony Powers said Coun Hempton-Smith’s case showed how the council’s personal and financial support for members could be improved.

“This is particularly the case for young people who are public spirited enough to put themselves forward for election," he said