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Former community council chair will repay £1,849 after fraudulently using council’s cash card

THE former chair of a community council has agreed to repay more than £1,800 after fraudulently withdrawing cash and spending money in shops using the authority’s debit card.

Ian Griffiths, formerly a Labour member of Laleston Community Council in Bridgend county, was found to have misused council funds between November 2018 and January 2019. He resigned from the council, was cautioned by police and agreed to repay the money.

A report by Bridgend County Borough Council’s standards committee states Mr Griffiths was interviewed by South Wales Police in November 2019 and “admitted that what he had done was wrong”. It also states he was given a simple caution for an offence of fraud by false representation and agreed to repay £1849 to Laleston Community Council.

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales investigated the matter and produced a report in November 2020 before referring it to the standards committee.

The Ombudsman’s report stated it was alleged that Mr Griffiths had misused council funds via unauthorised cashpoint withdrawals and debit card transactions between 1st November 2018 and 18th January 2019.

On March 02 2021, the standards committee found that Mr Griffiths significantly breached the Code of Conduct for Members and “acted dishonestly and had broken the public’s trust in elected members”.

The committee’s report states Mr Griffiths was accused of changing the PIN number of the council’s debit card and using it “to withdraw cash and make debit card payments at retailers”. It adds: “No supporting invoices were produced to demonstrate that this expenditure was on behalf of the council”.

The committee agreed it would be appropriate to suspend Mr Griffiths from the council for six months but because he had already left the authority, it agreed censure was appropriate.

A spokesperson for South Wales Police said: “In 2019 we received a complaint from a member of the Laleston Community Council, which alleged fraud by false representation.

As part of the investigation, one man voluntarily attended a police station and was subsequently cautioned by police.”

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