Ex-councillor in court over fraud charge

A FORMER councillor appeared in court this week charged with committing fraud against an African charity.

Richard Vallery-Peters, 48, of Ashburnham Road, faces one charge of fraud by false representation.

The charge relates to a period between August 25, 2011 and May 15, 2012.

At a court hearing at Hastings Magistrates Court on Wednesday (February 26), prosecutor Peter Bolwell said it was alleged that over that period Vallery-Peters collected payments amounting to £974.70 for the Tanzania-based Network for Vulnerable Rescue Foundation (NVRF) charity in the form of cash and cheques in order to make a gain for himself.

The charity works with impoverished families and children in Tanzania.

Mr Bolwell told Hastings magistrates that Vallery-Peters was a serving Hastings borough councillor during the period the allegation dates from.

The Crown Prosecution Service alleges that the money Vallery-Peters collected never reached the NVRF.

Vallery-Peters entered no plea to the charge at Wednesday’s hearing when he appeared in the dock before magistrates.

Magistrates decided that the case should be sent to the crown court.

Vallery-Peters must appear at Lewes Crown Court on Thursday, March 27 to answer the charge.

The former Conservative councillor, who is also an ex-naval rating, represented Baird ward for eight years on Hastings Borough Council until he lost his seat during the borough council elections in May 2012.