COLCHESTER’S High Steward has criticised council bosses for allowing rookie ghost hunters to run amok inside the town hall attempting to “communicate with the dead”.

Paranormal investigation or ghost hunting events have been regular fixtures at some of Colchester Council’s most important venues including Colchester Town Hall, Colchester Castle and Hollytrees Museum for many years.

But Sir Bob Russell has hit out at the ghoulish goings on, questioning whether a ghost hunt was an appropriate use of the historic facilities at Colchester Town Hall.

Gazette: Colchester Town HallColchester Town Hall

Speaking at a meeting of Colchester Council’s governance and audit committee he said: “I don’t know whether Colchester Events Company had any involvement, or whether any elected members had any involvement, in what transpired in this building on Saturday night.

“The building was let out to allow budding ghost hunters to communicate with the dead.

“Now those who are spiritualists, Christian spiritualists, of which there are two churches in Colchester, they take that matter very seriously.

“I do question though whether a Grade I listed building, the council’s most prestigious building, should be hired out for this sort of activity and for ghost hunters to be allowed to roam through parts of the building which are not accessible to the general public normally.”

Colchester Town Hall has been the focus of civic duties in the town for more than 800 years.

The borough’s first town hall, called the Moot Hall, was built in 1160 but was replaced twice during the 18th century.

The existing building was designed by John Belcher and first opened in 1902.

It used to be connected to the town’s old magistrates’ court and is considered by some experts to be one of Colchester’s most haunted buildings.

A spokesman for Colchester Council said: “We have hosted and facilitated group events and supervised tours of the town hall for many years, including the ghost hunt which has become a regular and popular fixture in our events calendar.

“To ensure there is no misuse of our facilities, all events held at any council venue must comply with our Events Policy, which the event in question does.”