Fraud probe into Mansfield mayoral election dropped over ‘lack of evidence’

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A fraud investigation into the Mansfield mayoral election last year has been dropped due to a lack of evidence, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has confirmed.

The probe into the amount of cash spent on Kate Allsop’s election campaign was launched amid allegations of overspending.

CLEARED: Stewart Rickersey

CLEARED: Stewart Rickersey

Candidates are under strict rules to spend no more than £6,969.72, with all expenditure declared.

Mrs Allsop eventually won May’s election, but a complaint was put to police shortly afterwards alleging more went on her campaign than was legally permitted.

The investigation focussed on Mansfield businessman Stewart Rickersey, her agent in her fight for the council’s top job.

This week, Fiona Morrison, reviewing lawyer at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Following a careful review, the CPS has concluded that no further action will be taken against one individual in relation to allegations of electoral offences in the Mansfield District Council Mayoral Election in 2015.

“This decision was made in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. There is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.”

The CPS said the charges considered during the investigation included incurring election expenses in excess of the prescribed maximum contrary to Section 76(1B) of the Representation of the People Act 1983, incorrect return of election expenses contrary to Section 81 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 and false declaration of election expenses contrary to Section 82 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Officers had demanded documents relating to the breakdown of costs in connection to the election from Mr Rickersey last year.

These include the amount spent on newspaper and radio advertising and election leaflets.

However, Mr Rickersey - who also won a seat on Mansfield District Council during the election - always denied any wrongdoing and said they underspent on Kate Allsop’s campaign.