Former mayor: war memorial fraud charges
FORMER mayor of Featherstone Roy Bickerton has appeared before magistrates charged with fraud in relation to lottery cash used to build the town’s war memorial.
Bickerton, 76, of Sandhill Rise, Pontefract, appeared at Pontefract Magistrates’ Court on Monday accused of four counts of fraud and three counts of using a false invoice while he was treasurer of the Featherstone District Memorial Garden Fund.
Prosecutors said an investigation was launched into invoices totalling £5,728.46 submitted to the Big Lottery Fund by the Garden Fund after lottery organiser Camelot received a complaint from a member of the public.
Amanda Harris, prosecuting, said “The circumstances of this matter surround Featherstone District Memorial Garden Fund, which was set up to oversee a project with a memorial garden to pay tribute to those who lost their lives.
“Four invoices the crown say were submitted as false by the defendant, who was at the time the treasurer of the Garden Fund, which the crown say is a gross breach of trust because of his position in the community.”
Bickerton is accused of making false representations to the Big Lottery Fund in relation to payments made by the Garden Fund of £850 to Red Dog Imaging, £3,603.46 to SA Compliance, £675 to Tribe and £600 to Yorkshire Volunteers Band.
He is also alleged to have submitted false invoices to the Big Lottery Fund for each payment with the intention they were accepted as genuine.
Susan Smith, presiding magistrate, granted Bickerton unconditional bail and adjourned proceedings until December 3 when the matter will be committed to crown court.
Bickerton was a district councillor between 2004 and 2010, and the town’s mayor between 2009 and 2010.
The Express revealed last October that he had been arrested following an investigation into a £10,000 grant awarded to the Garden Fund in May 2008 by the Big Lottery Fund.
The war memorial on Station Lane – which has around 400 names inscribed on its walls – opened in October 2008 following years of campaigning by the community.
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