A Bradford Methodist minister, who is the former chairman of the Co-operative Bank, has apologised "to all I have hurt or failed by my actions" after it was reported that he has been caught buying and using illegal drugs including crystal meth, crack cocaine and ketamine.

A Sunday newspaper said that the Reverend Paul Flowers, 63, who is also a former Bradford councillor, was filmed buying the substances only days after he was grilled by the Treasury Select Committee over the bank's disastrous performance.

Mr Flowers, who chaired the Co-operative Banking Group and the Co-operative Bank for three years, has issued a statement which said: "This year has been incredibly difficult, with a death in the family and the pressures of my role with the Co-operative Bank.

"At the lowest point in this terrible period, I did things that were stupid and wrong. I am sorry for this and I am seeking professional help, and apologise to all I have hurt or failed by my actions."

A Methodist Church spokesman said: "We expect high standards of our ministers and we have procedures in place for when ministers fail to meet those standards.

"Paul is suspended from duties for a period of three weeks, pending investigations, and will not be available to carry out any ministerial work. We will also work with the police if they feel a crime has been committed."

The Co-op has been trying to plug a £1.5 billion gap in finances which was discovered following the purchase of the Britannia Building Society and abortive plans to buy hundreds of Lloyds branches.

Mr Flowers, a former Labour councillor, resigned his seat in the Great Horton ward, in September 2011, due to his increased responsibilities as the bank's chairman.