Former Glasgow city council leader Steven Purcell went missing from a private clinic which specialises in drug and alcohol dependency, STV News can exclusively reveal.
Lothian and Borders police officers were called in to search for the leader of Glasgow City Council after he disappeared on Sunday from the Castle Craig clinic in Peebleshire.
Police confirmed in a statement today: "A 37-year-old man was reported missing in the Borders area on Sunday, February 28, 2010. While a search was being organised, the man returned."
Public relations expert Jack Irvine, whose firm Media House are representing Mr Purcell, confirmed his client had been resident at Castle Craig, and said he finally left the private hospital on Tuesday. The clinic treats drug and alcohol addictions, among other conditions. Mr Purcell is said to have been suffering from "stress and exhaustion".
Asked about the police search, a Media House spokesman said on Thursday: "I was not aware of that until you told me. It's a police matter. I wasn't aware of it so I can't confirm or deny it."
Earlier on Thursday, lawyers acting on behalf of Steven Purcell rejected claims that Glasgow City Council chiefs were preparing to tell the public he was suffering from a "chemical dependency".
The Scotsman reported on Thursday that a team of council aides had been preparing to assist Mr Purcell in a public relations strategy before his shock resignation on Monday.
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The newspaper said the draft proposal from Mr Purcell's in-house team of advisors would have laid out the reasons for his sudden departure with the words "chemical dependency" suggested to explain the condition. The advisors said the story was "without foundation".
The 37-year-old politician's team rejected the latest newspaper story. They released a statement saying: “Today’s story in The Scotsman is without foundation and is now in the hands of Councillor Steven Purcell’s legal advisers.” Glasgow City Council said it could not comment.