Fenland Council stops housing benefit to Chatteris woman on say so of mayor - only trouble was it was a bogus letter, court told

13:40 26 March 2014

Mayor Bill Hensley

Mayor Bill Hensley

Archant

Fenland Council stopped housing benefits to a Chatteris woman following a letter signed by the mayor of Huntingdon- which turned out to be bogus.

At Huntingdon magistrates court today the man who persuaded the council to stop the payments was convicted of sending the letter containing false information.

Clifford Dragon, 63, of Stocking Drove, Chatteris, was ordered to pay £100 compensation, costs of £775 and £120 victim surcharge.

The letter, which was signed Bill Hensley, Mayor of Huntingdon, said that his girlfriend, who lives in Chatteris, no longer required housing benefits.

Fenland Council, which received the letter on September 13, cancelled the payments and sent a letter to the woman informing her of the decision a few days later.

Cllr Hensley told the court he then investigated why payments had been stopped and then who sent the letter. He informed the police when he discovered the letter was said to have originated from him.

Pc Nicola Perry requested the letter from Fenland Council and sent it off for forensic analysis, which matched a fingerprint on the back of the letter to Dragon.

When asked how his finger print came to be on the back of the letter, Dragon said he couldn’t explain it.

The court heard that the Cllr Hensley and Dragon had been friends for approximately 40 years but had fallen out over the last two to three years, about a year after Dragon had driven Cllr Hensley’s wife to Switzerland to see Dragon’s ex-wife.

Huntingdon magistrates found Dragon guilty of the offence.

Graham Collins, chairman of the bench, said there was no credible explanation to why Dragon’s fingerprint was on the letter.

Cllr Hensley said after the hearing: “I think it’s a happy end as I wouldn’t like to see a former best friend sent to prison. This is the end of six months of upset it has caused.”

1 comment

  • Surely the other story here is how gullible FDC were? I know someone whose neighbour had an undeclared partner living with her, and FDC just whimpered about needing evidence. Went on for years. But not this time. Clearly shows how you're treated differently if you have a posh title.

    Report this comment

    Josie Ratcliffe

    Friday, March 28, 2014

More news stories

Yesterday, 11:00
The five concrete kerb stones

A family has been forced to build a new driveway through their garden after a shared access was blocked with five concrete kerb stones as part of a long-running neighbour dispute.

Yesterday, 09:26
Maxey auction

The new National Living Wage has dealt a hammer blow to a Wisbech auction house which is blaming the compulsory pay rise for a decision to close this autumn.

Yesterday, 17:39
Stolen trailer

Owners of a horse trailer stolen from a field in Outwell are hoping a £300 reward will help get it back.

Yesterday, 15:29
Women railway workers obscuring gas lamps at the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway's Horwich works, Greater Manchester. During the First World War many women were called to work to replace the men who were serving overseas. Women worked in many areas including on the railways, on the buses and in munitions factories. LYR offical photograph.

The important role played by women and the railway during World War I is told in an exhibition which can be seen this summer.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Wisbech Standard e-edition today E-edition