Thurrock stray horse policy: “Is this fraud?” asks councillor

A SENIOR THURROCK councillor has questioned Thurrock Council’s arrangement for dealing with stray horses.

Cllr Yash Gupta raised the concerns at a recent meeting of the Standards and Audit Committee, details of the arrangement between the council and an un-named organisation was discussed.

The arrangement started around 2002/03, when a large number of horses were abandoned in the Fort Road area resulting in horses being grazed illegally on land without the owners’ consent, leaving the landowners with potential liabilities as well as serious animal welfare concerns.

In an effort to end the problem of stray horses on land at Fort Road in Tilbury, a consortium of land owners including Tilbury Power Station, the Port of Tilbury, Anglian Water, English Heritage, Thurrock Council and other interested groups got together and raised £26,000 to help pay for action.

But the matter of where the money went was raised by Ockendon councillor, Lynn Carr.

Among the concerns were

1. The lack of a formal process for awarding the work to the contractor

2. No formal contract or written agreement resulted in a lack of information on what happened to the horses.

3. Due to the above, a detailed breakdown of costs for different services charged by the contractor was not available.

4. A lack of detail on invoices, and in some cases, evidence to support costs related to mileage, vets bills etc. meant it was not possible to provide assurance that the amounts invoiced were reasonable.

Cllr Yash Gupta asked the question: “Is this fraud?” and asked if any councillor had been questioned regarding the money.

YT understands that the matter will now be passed to another committee.

Cllr Carr said: “I really would like some definitive answers here. Every meeting we have seems to end up producing more questions than answers.”

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