Welcome to your local community website...
Leave of absence for parish councillor convicted of benefit fraud
A CROXLEY Green parish councillor has agreed to take a leave of absence after being convicted of five counts of benefit fraud.
Councillor Frank Brand, of Baldwins Lane, admitted the offences at Watford Magistrates' Court on Friday (May 21).
Three Rivers fraud investigators obtained evidence to show that Cllr Brand, who was claiming benefits, failed to disclose 'substantial cash' held in a number of undeclared savings accounts.
Evidence was also obtained to show he was receiving undeclared income.
Although the bench considered custody, Brand said he was in poor health and required oxygen at night.
He was fined ÃÂ£400 for each count, ordered to pay a further ÃÂ£400 costs to Three Rivers District Council, plus a ÃÂ£15 victim surcharge.
Marion Birch, chairman of Croxley Green Parish Council, which is politically independent, said: "We were totally unaware of the charges against Cllr Brand until this morning (Wednesday), so it comes as a bit of a shock.
"We would like to reassure residents that no public money was involved or placed at risk in the case.
"Any issues arising from his activities are not connected with the parish council.
"We have to follow the correct procedures and don't want to do anything hasty, however, in the best interests of the council, Cllr Brand has agreed to take a long leave of absence to consider his position."
Under the terms of the Local Government Act (1972), a councillor can only be sacked if they recieve a custodial sentence.
Councillor Brand was today unavailable for comment.
We'd like to hear from you. Send your stories, pics and videos