Ashford council candidate guilty of electoral fraud

A landlord who stood as a Conservative councillor in a local election has been found guilty of electoral fraud.

Cencizham Cerit, 47, of Primrose Drive, Ashford, stood for election to Ashford Borough Council in November 2011.

Canterbury Crown Court heard Cerit delivered 200 postal vote applications to the council containing false or forged signatures.

The postal applications were not accepted and Cerit lost the election by 87 votes.

The landlord, who owns 60 properties in the Ashford area, was also found guilty of submitting his nomination paper knowing it contained false signatures.

Police said returning officers became suspicious after the applications did not match up to council or electoral roll records.

Searches of Cerit's home and a fast-food takeaway business he owned in Ashford revealed copies of forged documents.

He was found guilty of two counts of using false instrument and one count of causing or committing a false statement to appear in a nomination paper.

Sentencing is on 8 February.

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