Canvey Town Council has lost a second town clerk in the space of two years.

John Burridge has been relieved of his duties after just six months in the job, because councillors were worried about the hours he was keeping.

Mr Burridge, 59, who lives in the village of Denham, Suffolk, was often arriving at 6.30am and leaving at 2pm in order to care for his disabled wife, leading to concerns the council office was not open for much of the afternoon.

He is the second clerk to leave the job in 16 months, as his predecessor Julie Abel quit the role in June, 2009.

She is taking the council to an employment tribunal for constructive dismissal, following a row with councillors over the island’s 2009 Armed Forces Day.

Dave Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Island Independent Party, the majority group on the authority, said: “Canvey is unique and some people may find it difficult to get to grips with the place.

“I’m not worried we’ve changed clerks a couple of times.

“We have to make sure we get the right person for the job.”

The council decided not to take Mr Burridge on full time following the end of his six-month probation period.

Deputy clerk Elaine De Can, who lives on the island, has taken over the role.

Mr Blackwell added: “When we interviewed John he was the best of the bunch. We knew about the difficulties with travel and, in the end, it’s not worked out.

“We would like to thank him for all the work he has done.

“I’m sure Elaine will do an excellent job – she’s a local girl, who is very enthusiastic and dedicated.”

The town council is likely to advertise for an administrative assistant to aid the new clerk.

No date has been fixed for the employment tribunal with Miss Abel, but it is expected to be next year.

Mr Blackwell added: “We’re still in limbo. If we lose, we are covered by insurance, so the taxpayer will not foot the bill.”