11:30AM, Thursday 21 August 2014
Last week we reported on how Cllr Peter Lawless (Con, Eton Wick) was sentenced at Slough Magistrates' Court on August 8 after failing to declare a borough council allowance of nearly £20,000 over a three year-period.
Lawless, who was given a two-year conditional discharge, has since resigned from the council’s Conservative group but said he intends to continue as an independent councillor until May, when the next elections will be held.
He has refused to step down from the Royal Borough, saying ‘serving the community is in my DNA’.
Lawless admitted three charges of failing to notify a change in circumstances which he knew affected his entitlement to benefit.
Magistrates heard the 62-year-old, from Eton Wick Road, received £4,839.11 in housing benefit overpayments between May 16, 2011 and January 6, 2014.
Lawless, who is also a member of Eton Town Council, failed to declare his council member’s allowance during the same period, which came to a total of £19,590.48.
He claimed it was because he did not realise it should be declared as income.
The court also heard the defendant failed to declare monthly pension payments from Royal Mail following a single lump-sum payment of £13,998.88 in January 2012.
Magistrates heard he had already arranged a repayment plan with the council to recover the money and ordered Lawless to pay £415 costs.
In this week's poll we are asking whether or not he should quit as a council representative after he was sentenced for benefit fraud.
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Police raided addresses in Lillibrooke Crescent, Cox Green, and in Crown Lane, Farnham Royal, at about 7.15am.