Woman in court accused of lying about qualifications on CV

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: ARCHANT

An ecologist obtained work with a Suffolk company by falsely claiming she held licences in relation to bats and great crested newts, it has been alleged.

Elizabeth Wakeford, known as Hetty, was arrested at James Blake Associates in Lavenham in March last year after it was allegedly discovered she had lied about her qualifications, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Wakeford, 48, of Compton Terrace, London, has denied three offences of fraud relating to claims she held a bat level 2 licence and a great crested newt licence.

"The prosecution says that the defendant has never held such qualifications and the reason she held herself out to hold such qualifications was to secure positions of employment and therefore payment of salaries to which she would not have been in post for," said David Wilson, prosecuting.

The court heard that in 2017 James Blake Associates, which specialises in landscape architecture, planning and ecology, advertised for a professional field ecologist who ideally had a bat and great crested newt licence.

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Wakeford applied for the role and submitted a covering letter and CV allegedly asserting she held both a bat and great crested newt licence, said Mr Wilson.

During an interview with the company in April 2017, Wakeford allegedly repeated the claim that she held the relevant licences.

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The owner of the company said that if it been known that Wakeford didn't hold the bat and great crested newt licences, she wouldn't have been shortlisted let alone given the job, Mr Wilson told the court.

"The issues caused by this fraud has placed James Blake Associates in a difficult position as survey commissions have been undertaken when the defendant did not have the licenses claimed," Mr Wilson added.

During police interviews Wakeford claimed that although she didn't have a bat level two licence in her name, she worked under another person's licence as an accredited agent.

Wakeford told police that when she applied for the job at James Blake Associates she told them she was an accredited person for bat level II licence and accredited for crested newt licence.

When officers told her that her CV stated she had a bat level 2 licence and great crested newt licence, and there was no mention of accredited person, she said this was a mistake - and she kept repeating that she was accredited.

The trial continues.

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