A TORY candidate in next week’s borough council elections is at the centre of a fraud investigation at a village hall.
Trustees of Kiveton Park and Wales Village Hall have called in police after thousands of pounds allegedly went “missing” from the bar while it was run by Wales Parish Council chairman Gill Shaw, who is standing for the Conservative Party in the Wales ward.
Members of the village hall committee have spoken to police to discuss bringing a possible prosecution against Cllr Shaw after a drop in gift-aided revenue from the bar to the charity fell last year from £26,000 to just over £4,000.
The bar was nearly forced to close and the committee is now running it on a week-to-week basis after having to pull out of its contract with a brewery.
Cllr Shaw, who will stand for the Tories next Thursday, left her position as manager and licensee of the Lamp and Pony bar last August.
Trustee and Wales parish councillor Peter Dregorious said: “The trustees have asked the police to investigate.
“The first time we got any inkling that something was wrong was after comparing the first year’s trading when we had been handed £26,000 in gift-aid and the following year when it was down to £4,400—a really big drop.
“So obviously we started looking into things and got the accountants to look at all the receipts and they picked up at least £9,000 worth of discrepancies in the books.
“That’s when we asked the police to get involved and to get their advice about taking legal action.
“There was another £7,000 handed over by a member of the village to be used for children’s parties etc but that is not shown anywhere in the accounts.
“Out of that money we only had three children’s parties and that wouldn’t amount to anything like £7,000.”
Cllr Dregorious said that the committee had challenged Cllr Shaw about the money and she said trade had gone down.
But he said that they checked with the brewery and were told there was a small drop but not enough to account for the big fall in revenue.
He said that Cllr Shaw ran the bar for 14 months and she now runs the nearby Forge pub in Wales.
The bar opened amid controversy three years ago when the village hall was built after a row over the ownership of the land.
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman confirmed that an officer is in contact with members of the committee over the allegations.
Cllr Shaw emphatically denied the allegations.
She said: “I absolutely refute this and it’s just people playing politics before an election.
“People need to be very careful about throwing around accusations and lies. Certain individuals could find themselves in court for libel.
“I’m going to concentrate on serving the people of Wales ward rather than getting into arguments.”