A man has been cautioned after signatures on the nomination forms of a defeated BNP candidate in the General Election were found to have been forged.
South Wales Police received a number of complaints from members of the public concerned that their details had been used on Richard Barnes’ nomination form. Mr Barnes stood for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney in the recent election, but received only 1,173 votes.
Before a prospective candidate is allowed to stand, he or she must obtain 10 signatures: a proposer, a seconder and those who signed the nomination papers. Police investigated the claims and as a result a 30-year-old man was arrested and later cautioned for tampering with ballot nomination papers after he was found to be responsible for forging signatures.
A South Wales Police spokesman said: “Mr Barnes was unaware of the actions and the man was cautioned on May 16.”
Ronald Fealey, of Penydarren, was one of those who had his name used to forge a signature. He said: “Someone told me my name was on the nomination form and I thought they were taking the Mick about it. My son downloaded the nomination form and there my name was. I reported it to the returning officer and they informed the police. I don’t know why my name was chosen, it possibly could have been out of a hat for all I know.”
Katy Meredith, of Church Street, Penydarren, was also a victim of the deception. She did not sign the nomination papers and said she did not vote BNP.
The Echo contacted the BNP but received no response.
Merthyr Tydfil Council was unable to help the Echo contact Richard Barnes, but did say: “Fraudulently signing election nomination papers is a criminal offence. Therefore, when Merthyr council was officially made aware that there was a potential issue with one of the candidates’ nomination papers the week after the election, the matter was referred directly to South Wales Police for investigation. Merthyr council has no further role.”