The new mayor of Chippenham got the fright of his life last week when Russian police arrested him as a suspected terrorist.

Councillor John Scragg has just got back from Russia, where he said he was detained for five hours.

He was on an organised trip in Samara, southwest Russia, with about 20 others to see the local public transport, when he and another man got taken into the metro police station.

“The police couldn’t work out why all our photos were of trams and trolley buses, rather than the usual cathedrals,” said Coun Scragg, 68.

“I feared we were going to get thrown out of Russia. They questioned us separately and finally let us go at 11.30pm.”

Chippenham’s chains were passed from Sylvia Gibson to Coun Scragg on Tuesday night. It is the third time the Liberal Democrat councillor, who represents the Lowden and Rowden ward, has been elected mayor, also having served in the role in 1992 and 2005.

Coun Scragg, of Field View, Chippenham, said: “It’s great because you get to meet a lot of people and get a really good idea of what’s going on in the town.”

His charity of the year will be research into cures for eye disease.

Coun David Powell is deputy mayor.