COMMUNITY figures are “outraged” a reverend has been suspended for 17 months after being arrested - but never charged - as part of a police investigation into claims of indecent assault.

The Rev Canon David Tudor continues to assist Surrey Police with an investigation into the claims, which date back to the 1980s.

The 64-year-old from Canvey was based at St Nicholas Church, having been appointed as Rector of Canvey in 2006.

The Bishop of Chelmsford suspended Mr Tudor following his arrest on April 17 last year, after he was interviewed and released under investigation.

However, 17 months later there is still no update on the investigation.

Ray Howard, former Canvey councillor, said the situation was “outrageous”.

He said: “It just amazes me about this system, either charge him or don’t. To have this for 17 months to me is disgraceful.

“We’ve had Marion Walford, she has been absolutely fantastic to follow someone like David, she’s kept the parish going very well.

“I know we have had the lockdown, but that whole 17 months is a very long, long time.

“For this to go on all this time, and as I understand, it’s going back [many years], I just can’t imagine what it’s doing to our close community of Canvey.

“Either charge him or release him so he can get on with his life and family.”

In 2008, Mr Tudor was appointed area Dean of Hadleigh, covering a patch from Canvey through Castle Point to Leigh, Westcliff and St Laurence’s parish in Eastwood.

Bill Sharp, St James Ward councillor for Castle Point, said he has previously written to Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris about the situation.

He said: “I think it’s an appalling situation that’s happened to the Reverend Tudor.

“If they find something eventually, that’s what the law is about, but to have some 15 months away from what you built up to a wonderful community spirit, and for the whole borough, is something the law must look to change.

“It’s unacceptable for someone to be under investigation and have their whole life on hold for 16 months, because nothing has happened.

“We are fortunate on Canvey to have excellent reverends but he had a special way about him. I have written to the MP saying it must be addressed.

“If they are guilty, they are guilty, and if they’re innocent, they’re innocent.”

A Diocese of Chelmsford spokesman said: "David Tudor remains suspended from his role as Team Rector of the parish of Canvey as he is the subject of an ongoing police investigation.

"We are unable to comment further at this stage”

The vicar, who is married with three children, was contacted but was unavailable for comment.

Surrey Police were contacted but did not respond before the Echo went to press.