THE bellringer at the centre of safeguarding concerns at York Minster is David Potter MBE, president of the York Minster Society of Change Ringers, it is now understood.

All 30 bellringers were axed last week and the bells will remain silent until 2017.

Amid growing unrest, The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, revealed on Monday that the move came following safeguarding concerns.

This morning, The Times named Mr Potter as the man involved.

An interim Sexual Risk Order was issued to Mr Potter MBE last year but it was later dismissed.

North Yorkshire Police said on Tuesday that in June 2015, the force applied for such an order, following concerns raised during multi-agency safeguarding processes about a 66-year-old York man and his contact with children.

York Press:

"The order was initially granted by York Magistrates Court on an interim basis pending final determination," said a spokeswoman.

"Ultimately the court refused to grant a Sexual Risk Order but other safeguarding measures were put in place by other authorities."

Mr Potter's solicitor, Colin Byrne, of Howard & Byrne Solicitors, said: "Mr Potter has no cautions or convictions or any civil findings ever made against him.

"Issues surrounding the bellringers and the Minster is a private and confidential matter between those two parties but the process that he has been subject to has shown a disregard for due process and equally the treatment of his fellow bell ringers."

In early 2000, The Press reported that Mr Potter was under police investigation over an allegation of indecent assault and had been suspended from his position as ringing master at York Minster.

Mr Potter, who was awarded his MBE for his services to bell-ringing in the city, was later released without charge at the end of months of investigation by North Yorkshire Police.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said on Monday that in the summer, it had been necessary for the Chapter to take action regarding a 'member of the bellringing community' on alleged safeguarding grounds.

He claimed some members of the York Minster Society of Change Ringers had consistently challenged the Chapter's authority, which was why the bell ringing team was disbanded.

But the Society said that, whilst it had challenged the Chapter on the fairness of some decisions, it 'strongly refuted' any suggestion it disregarded the implementation of any of its policies.