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Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 18:24 GMT
Ex-councillor jailed for fraud
Manchester Crown Court
Sharman had already served a jail sentence in 1993
A former city councillor in Stoke-on-Trent is beginning an 18-month jail sentence for fraud and corruption offences.

Ian Sharman, who was a Labour councillor in the early 1990s, was convicted at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester on charges relating to a building project in which he was involved.

He admitted 17 charges of fraud and was found guilty of corruptly accepting a 200 bribe from a builder, but cleared of taking others worth 12,000. He was also convicted of theft and furnishing false information.

The 49-year-old had already served a four-month jail sentence in 1993 for stealing from a charity of which he was trustee while a councillor in Stoke.

Missing money

On his release, Sharman moved to Greater Manchester and later became chairman of the Heywood and Middleton Labour Party constituency near Rochdale.

He became a property developer, and was appointed manager of a lottery-funded project to renovate the 16th Century Grammar School in Middleton.

Police officers began investigating Sharman's work on the scheme after a party colleague raised concerns about missing funds.

Customs officers also discovered he had taken up to 70,000 in falsely claimed VAT invoices.

Sharman was suspended from his post as constituency chairman after his arrest, and is no longer a member of the Labour party.

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