A NEWPORT councillor who solicited a prostitute in the city has admitted he has taken a “long hard look at myself” after experiencing addiction issues.

Chris Evans, an independent representing the Rogerstone ward, has urged people suffering with mental health and addiction issues to get help.

Newport Magistrates’ Court heard he had recently come close to a breakdown and the councillor, speaking after the case, made reference to his own personal demons.

Evans revealed he was in "recovery" but did not want to go into any detail.

The 56-year-old, who used to work as a field sales account manager for Argus publisher Newsquest, was caught by Gwent Police on May 22 last year with a sex worker in his car in the Pill area.

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His lawyer Rod Young told magistrates: “He concedes her services were discussed but there was no sexual relations between them and no money changed hands.”

Evans was handed a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £22 surcharge after he pleaded guilty to soliciting a prostitute on Commercial Road.

I want to move on with an honest life

Outside the court, he said: "I am going to start to do things differently. It is what it is. I made a mistake.

“No sexual act took place. It’s a bloody mess.

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“I would say the whole thing has made me take a long hard look at myself.

“I want to move on with an honest life.

“I would advise people with mental health and addiction issues to get the help that’s out there.”

He paid tribute to all the well-wishers who had supported him and to his constituents.

He added: “People have been so damned kind.

“The people of Rogerstone have been fantastic – it is an honour and a privilege to represent them.”

He told of how he had resigned from his role as a council-appointed governor at Bassaleg School and High Cross Primary.

Evans was first elected a Newport City councillor in 2012.

The defendant was originally a member of the Labour Party but became an independent after he was suspended from the party six years ago.

Mr Young told magistrates: “He has lost his job as a senior advertising manager with Newsquest and is resigned to losing his position as a councillor.”