Kirkbymoorside man claims £10k in business aid during pandemic

A man was accused when he misled a council and successfully claimed a £10k grant for business support during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite having no business at the time.

In April 2020, Adrian Buckley, 54, of Keld Head Orchard in Kirkbymoorside, applied for a COVID-19 business grant because he claimed he met the right criteria for it.

Because of their application, they automatically received £10k, saying they had received the correct business rate discount and that their business was being used for the right amount of time.

However, when the building’s owners contacted Rydell District Council and applied to have their commercial rates returned to their names, fraud was discovered.

A criminal investigation was conducted by the council’s counter-fraud service, Veritau.

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It turned out that Buckley stopped doing business at the address in January 2020 — more than two months before the exact date of the grant — and that his lease was not being extended.

After being alerted, Mr. Buckley’s accounts were frozen and the money was soon returned to Rydell District Council.

Buckley pleaded guilty to all charges at York Magistrates Court on Wednesday 27 July.

He was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.

He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge and court costs totaling £2,533.

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Rydell District Council people and places director Margaret Wallace said the grant money was provided for those who needed it.

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It said: “This case reflects our strong stand against anyone trying to take advantage of the system and fraudulently claiming help.”

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