AFTER a week of civic drama Devizes Guardian leader Nigel Carter became mayor of the town yesterday in an evening of pomp and ceremony.

Days after the Conservatives reported newly elected Devizes Guardian Naomi Britton for making a false declaration, which led to her resignation, the Tories chose to make a quiet and almost unnoticed show of defiance.

They abstained from the vote that elected Mr Carter as mayor for 2017/18 and again when fellow Devizes Guardian Andy Geddes was elected deputy mayor.

But Mr Carter did not allow that to detract from his elevation to the top civic job and the election was only mentioned in passing in his acceptance speech when he thanked the electorate of north ward for voting for him.

He becomes the first mayor of the newly merged Devizes Town Council and Roundway Parish Council and he saw it as an opportunity for the new council to engage more with the large businesses on Hopton Industrial Estate.

He also recognised that litter and dog fouling were issues that bothered people in the town and pledged to deal with these problems.

He has chosen Alzheimer's Support in Sidmouth Street, Devizes, Wiltshire Mind and the Soldiers, Sailors and Airman Association as his charities of the year.

Mr Geddes said he was honoured to become deputy mayor. He said: "I will do my best to serve all of the town."

Outgoing mayor Jane Burton was praised for her dedication to both the town and duty during her second stint as mayor during which time she undertook 171 engagements.

She picked out meeting Prince Charles during his visit to Wadworth Brewery and going to five Macmillan coffee mornings in one day as two of the highlights. She thanked her husband Richard for being her loyal consort.

But after the ceremonial part of the evening was over the Conservative group made it clear that the events that had led to the resignation of Mrs Britton and the investigation by police into alleged election fraud was still casting a long shadow. Old wounds over the resignation in 2013 of Conservative mayor elect Jim Gudgeon amid claims pressure had been put on him by the Devizes Guardians after they took control of the council the week earlier.

Since that time no Conservative has held the position of mayor.