A FORMER council boss has denied fraud and theft offences against two of the local authorities he worked for.

Thomas Clark, 34, of Victoria Road, Stroud, is alleged to have abused his position of trust when head of revenue and benefits at West Oxfordshire District Council.

Clark appeared for a hearing at Cirencester Magistrates’ Court earlier this month, following an appearance at Gloucester Crown Court in December.

See also: Residents call for further 20mph speed limit zone

At the latter appearance, Clark pleaded not guilty to four charges alleging that he defrauded or stole from West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) and Cotswold District Council.

The charges he denied were:

  • Fraud by abuse of position on 12 February 2018, by making a gain for another person by cancelling the costs on a debt owed to WODC
  • Cancelling the costs owed by a member of the public on a debt owed to a council tax account at WODC on July 5 2018
  • Making adjustments to a council tax account linked to a member of the public in the Cotswold District Council area on April 23 2019
  • Stealing £120 from Cotswold District Council on April 5 2019.

Prosecutor Harry Ahuja said the total amount of public money involved in the charges is £300 while £117 of that amount has since been repaid.

Clark is being prosecuted by Cotswold District Council under the 2006 Fraud Act, for fraud by abuse of position and theft.

Read more: H&M in Witney could be set to close

Both WODC and Cotswold District Council have a shared revenue and benefits services department, with the Forest of Dean District Council too, meaning Clark was responsible for all three authorities.

At his December court appearance, he was released on unconditional bail to appear again at Gloucester Crown Court for a four-day jury trial beginning on May 24.

Before then, he will appear for a case management hearing on April 21 at the same court.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on news@nqo.com or 01865 425 445.