BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 12:24 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 13:24 UK

Police investigate Burnley Council vote irregularities

Person casting a vote
The returning officer referred the votes to police

A police investigation is under way into voting irregularities in last week's local election in Burnley.

Inquiries began after Steve Rumbelow, returning officer and council chief executive, referred the Daneshouse with Stoneyholme ward count to officers.

Despite the potential issues, he said he believed the result of the election would not have been affected.

Labour's Shah Hussain held the seat for the party with 1,554 votes. Liberal Democrat Tahir Nawaz polled 1,071.

'Grave concerns'

In a statement, Mr Rumbelow said: "I have grave concerns about irregularities in the local election vote in Daneshouse with Stoneyholme ward and I have decided to raise those concerns with Lancashire Police.

"I have no reason to believe this issue would have affected the outcome of the result."

It is the second time the Daneshouse with Stoneyholme ward has been subject to a police investigation.

Liberal Democrat councillors Manzur Hussain and Mozaquir Ali were jailed for 18 months in 2006 after defrauding dozens of voters during the 2004 local government elections.

The men collected signed proxy vote forms door-to-door and cast them in favour of Ali.

Speaking about the latest inquiry, Supt Steve Pemberton, of Burnley CID, said: "I can confirm that we have launched an investigation following Council concerns about one of the ballots.

"The investigation relates to the local elections and to one ward only: the Daneshouse and Stoneyholme ward in Burnley."

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