A UKIP councillor has been suspended from attending Thurrock Council meetings until next year, it has been confirmed.

Kevin Wheeler, the ward councillor for Ockendon, will not be allowed to attend any further council meetings until 2018 amid allegations he was abusive to a member of the public.

Tensions were running high at a full council meeting in the civic offices in Grays on Wednesday night.

The public gallery was packed with residents protesting the introduction of the controversial "grass tax" which was discussed at length during the meeting.

It was conservative members who were causing outrage within the chambers as councillor Mark Coxshall used a profanity while councillor Ben Maney asked that the residents in the gallery be exchanged for horses.

However, allegations have now arisen that Mr Wheeler got into a heated exchange during the break while stood outside the offices with other officials and members of the public.

Toni Mayes, 53, from Tilbury, had come to observe the meeting and claims she was left shaken after Mr Wheeler confronted her.

She said: "I was very upset. I still feel shaken today. A lot of people were shouting things out and being insulting at the meeting - especially the councillors.

"So yes, the public might have started doing it as well but that's going to happen when there's councillors swearing, laughing and joking about an issue which is really important to the community.

"I may have shouted out about the swearing and when the mayor apologised on people's behalf which I think is wrong but Kevin Wheeler had no right to speak to me the way he did.

"He's a councillor. It was the last thing I expected."

Toni later said the UKIP leader Graham Snell had apologised on Kevin's behalf and that Mr Wheeler would be suspended from attending future meetings until the new year.

Mr Snell told the Gazette: "Kevin Wheeler has been suspended from Council Meetings until the new year.

"We will be carrying out an internal investigation into the matter."

Thurrock Council have confirmed they received an official complaing.

A spokesman said: "A complaint against an elected Member has been received.

"Thurrock Council takes all complaints very seriously and investigates all such complaints received. Appropriate action is taken in all cases."