Fraud councillor Lesley Hayward disqualified

Councillor Lesley Hayward Image copyright Wokingham BOROUGH council
Image caption Lesley Hayward is an independent councillor in Wokingham

A councillor who fraudulently obtained almost £45,000 in benefits has been disqualified from her seat.

Lesley Hayward was given a four-month sentence, suspended for a year, at Reading Magistrates' Court last month.

Hayward, 63, who sat as an independent on Wokingham Borough Council, had told the authorities she lived alone when she actually lived with her partner.

Under Electoral Commission rules, by-election proceedings for the Bulmershe and Whitegates Ward have begun.

Hayward admitted two counts of knowingly failing to declare a change in circumstances to the council and the Department for Work and Pensions, and one of making a false statement to obtain Pension Credit.

A council spokeswoman said although Hayward had previously indicated that she would resign, she did not submit a resignation in writing and so was automatically disqualified from the authority.

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