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Tuesday, September 7, 1999 Published at 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK

UK: Wales

Councillors sentenced for expenses fraud

The three men were sentenced at Cardiff crown court

A judge at Cardiff crown court spoke of his "great sadness" as he sentenced a councillor who cheated on his expenses on an official trip to Brussels.

Denzil Hancock, 62, pleaded guilty to faking expenses for the luxury Eurostar journey.

Hancock and former councillor Bernard Price, 52, claimed expenses for a first-class fare - after buying cheap standard tickets.

Another ex-councillor, William Adams, 50, admitted falsely claiming expenses for a flight from Birmingham to Belfast.

The men were Blaenau Gwent Borough Council members when charged with a total of 13 offences of false accounting between 1995 and 1997.

[ image: One of the councillors pleaded guilty to faking Eurostar expenses]
One of the councillors pleaded guilty to faking Eurostar expenses
Prosecutor Paul Lewis said the three friends finally accepted their guilt on four of the charges. He said: "The case was successful because we have established that each was dishonest while they worked in public office.

"The councillors could claim for trips if they were working on council business.

"However they were never required to submit any receipts proving what they claimed was true, " he said.

David Wynn Morgan, defending, said Hancock was recently re-elected with a greater majority than before.

He added: "He held the trust of his public but despite re-election will forever be tarnished by what he did."

Married Hancock, a Plaid Cymru councillor for Abertillery, admitted false accounting. He was sentenced to 200 hours community service and ordered to repay the council 226 and pay 1,000 court costs.

[ image: One ex-councillor faked expenses for a flight to Belfast]
One ex-councillor faked expenses for a flight to Belfast
Bernard Price, a former Labour councillor for Ebbw Vale and ex-chairman of the personnel committee, admitted two charges of false accounting. He was also given 200 hours community service and must repay the council 222 and ordered to pay 1,000 court costs.

Plant operator Adams, a former independent councillor for Abertillery, admitted a single charge of false accounting. Adams was sentenced to 100 hours community service, ordered to repay the council 20 and must pay 500 prosecution costs.

Judge John Prosser said: "It is with great sadness that I have to sentence three men of good character.

"But the facts clearly show you three public servants were still fiddling small sums of public money."

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