A CONTROVERSIAL mayor has been acquitted of leading hundreds of workers to steal from supermarkets to feed the poor due to insufficient evidence of criminal activity.

Communist Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, mayor of Marinaleda, is believed to have remained outside the shop in Ecija, near Sevilla, in August 2012, while supporters of his radical trade union SAT took food.

A court in Sevilla ruled that he was only there to ‘support what he believed to be a political event’.

Gordillo, of the left wing IU party, has become a Robin Hood figure in Andalucia following a spate of supermarket raids and attempts to grow food on private land.

He has been arrested many times and paid multiple fines during his reign as the longest-running mayor in Spain.