CIVIC leaders in a North Yorkshire town are refusing to pay a door-to-door delivery firm - because they say whole streets could have been missed out of a 3,500-leaflet drop.

Every household in Norton should have received a copy of the town council report, distributed ahead of last month's annual meeting. But councillors living in Welham Road and Langton Road said they had not seen a copy, and were unaware of deliveries around their homes.

Clerk Roger King wrote to Johnston Letterbox Direct Ltd, based in Harrogate, and asked for evidence of where deliveries had taken place.

Information was forwarded to the council showing that only three small areas had definitely had deliveries, around Hambleton Road, Mill Street and The Chase.

The council is concerned many streets, including Scarborough Road, Beverley Road and Riverside View, close to Malton, may never have received reports, designed to show where residents' money has been spent over the year.

Coun Allin Jenkins said members had agreed to withhold payment for the delivery job until they had proof that the work had been carried out. "There appear to be some areas which have not been covered," he said.

"It's fairly obvious they have not delivered - the firm have not met the terms of the contract.

"I don't see why the residents should be faced with a bill when we are talking about a couple of hundred pounds or so, and until that work has been completed I would support non-payment."

Lisa Graham, from Letterbox Direct, said she had spoken to town council clerk Roger King about the matter.

"I did explain to Mr King that we could not guarantee 100 per cent delivery," she said.

"The distributors start in the built-up area and go out until they run out.

"As far as I know they did all go out, it was not the case that some were left over."

She added: "We just distribute where we can and it looks as though the less residential areas were where we had run out - maybe 3,500 was not enough."

The council has contacted its solicitors to inform them they were withholding the payment.

Updated: 10:33 Wednesday, May 21, 2003