Council worker handed suspended prison sentence following fabrication of air quality test results

A Waverley Borough Council worker has received a suspended prison sentence following fabrication of air quality test results.

Ann-Marie Wade (44) had previously pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud at Guildford Crown Court. The charges related to test results from 2015 and 2016, when she was working as an environmental officer for Waverley Borough Council.

To report on air quality, councils across the UK use diffusion tubes which are located at various sites. These tubes have to be replaced monthly and sent to a laboratory for analysis.

These results are then used to compile statistics for an annual report, which is then submitted to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Following a council investigation, it became apparent that some of the test results had been fabricated.

Wade was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work at a hearing at Guildford Crown Court on Thursday 12 December 2019. She was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,500.

Paul McGorry, a Senior Crown Prosecutor from the CPS, said: “For fraud to be committed, no gain or loss needs to be made, but the defendant’s conduct must be dishonest and their intention must be to either make a gain or cause a loss to another.

“In this case, a loss was caused to her employers, who had to try and rectify her actions and she was paid to do carry out a function she did not fulfil.

“She knew the importance of her work and the potential consequences for the council of providing false data, not least the impact this would have on its reputation and its legal obligation to supply this information to the government.”

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