September 30, 2021 10.32 am

Ex Tory WLDC leader admits £31k of fraud offences

He forged signatures on 93 cheques

The former Conservative leader of West Lindsey District Council has pleaded guilty to theft, fraud and forgery charges totalling £31,201.04, over a period of six years.

Councillor Giles McNeill, now an Independent, appeared at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on Thursday where he entered a guilty plea to all eight charges.

McNeill, 39, of The Chestnuts, Nettleham, has been charged with offences dating from 2014 to 2020 including:

  • One count of theft by employee, stealing £10,948.50 from the Conservative Party
  • One count of forging signatures on 93 cheques
  • And six charges of fraud by abuse of power – abusing his positions as organising secretary of the Gainsborough Constituency Conservative Association, treasurer of West Lindsey District Council Conservatives, treasurer of Gainsborough Constituency Conservative Club and treasurer of the Lincolnshire Area Conservative Party by fraudulently cashing cheques totalling £20,252.54 and retaining the money in his own personal bank account

McNeill was leader of the council from May 2019 until announcing in September 2020 he was stepping back from the role for “personal reasons”.

He was also organising secretary and communications manager for Gainsborough Conservative Association and was employed in a similar role by the constituency MP Sir Edward Leigh. He stepped down from both positions last year.

McNeill became the council’s youngest member when he was first elected to represent the Nettleham ward at a by-election in September 2012, at the age of 30. After stepping down as leader he left the Conservative Group but continued to sit as an Independent councillor.

Magistrates said in court the case was too complex for their sentencing guidelines.

Councillor McNeill will now appear before Lincoln Crown Court on a date and time to be confirmed.

He was released on unconditional bail.

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