Two men who were previously employed as waste collection officers with Barking and Dagenham Council have been found guilty of fraud by abuse of position.
Barking and Dagenham council says it initiated an investigation following suspicion that the men, who worked in the Trade Waste Collection service, were collecting extra waste and taking money from businesses who were not paying the council for the service.
Mathew Orchard and Paul Moon appeared in Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday 27 October and were both sentenced to 90 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 24 months alongside 120 hours of unpaid work and £3,600 each in costs and compensation. Moon also received 20 days of rehabilitation activity.
Following suspicions, the local authority opened an investigation but before a scheduled disciplinary hearing was due to take place both Orchard and Moon resigned. The council says further reviews by data-led investigators uncovered “substantial fraud” involving the pair while they had been employed.
We always investigate and look to take the strongest form of action where we can.
In November 2022, Orchard pleaded guilty and Moon not guilty. However, in June 2023, Moon changed his plea to guilty.
Reacting to the sentence, Cllr Dominic Twomey, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Growth & Core Services, said: “The ex-employees, by their dishonesty, have cost both the council and taxpayer losses in income that would have been best used to support the borough’s most vulnerable.
“I would like to remind anyone that would want to think about defrauding the council that we have robust systems in place and when issues are identified, we always investigate and look to take the strongest form of action where we can – including prosecuting those involved where appropriate.”