Former mayor to stand trial

FORMER mayor of Featherstone Roy Bickerton will stand trial in June on five counts of fraud.

Bickerton, 76, of Sandhill Rise, Pontefract, pleaded not guilty at Leeds Crown Court yesterday to fraud charges in relation to lottery cash used to build Featherstone’s war memorial on Station Lane.

Prosecutors say the ex-district and town councillor provided false accounting in an end-of-year report to the Big Lottery Fund on September 24, 2009 and provided false invoices to Tribe Marketing Ltd, SA Compliance Solutions Ltd, Yorkshire Volunteers Band and Red Dog Imaging on December 13, 2010.

Richard Wright, mitigating, said: “This is a case which has an involved history and there are a number of issues I need to talk to the defendant about in confidence.

“The invoices are not false but there is a far wider background that needs to be investigated. All I can say is that Mr Bickerton has a very long history to relay to me.”

At an earlier hearing prosecutors said Bickerton ‘misappropriated’ several thousands of pounds while he was treasurer of the Featherstone District Memorial Garden Fund.

The war memorial, which has around 400 names inscribed on its walls, opened in October 2008 following years of campaigning by the community. Bickerton will return to crown court for trial on June 10.