Police seize computer from flat of Great Yarmouth UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith, UKIP county councillor for Gorleston St Andrew's division. Picture: James Bass

Matthew Smith, UKIP county councillor for Gorleston St Andrew's division. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2012

Police have seized computer equipment from the flat of UKIP's prospective parliamentary candidate for Great Yarmouth.

Officers executed a warrant at the home of Gorleston St Andrew's county councillor Matthew Smith last Friday.

A spokesman for the force confirmed they had taken property from Mr Smith's flat, in High Street as part of an alleged forged signatures probe.

A Norfolk police spokesman said: 'Police conducted a search warrant at a premises in Gorleston High Street on Friday, June 28 in relation to an ongoing investigation into potential electoral malpractice relating to the Great Yarmouth area.

'Our aim is to conduct a full, impartial and proportionate investigation into allegations, reported to us by the borough council, which centre around the use of forged signatures on nomination papers. Friday's action forms part of the evidence-gathering process of this investigation.

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'Inquiries continue and no arrests have been made in relation to this matter.'

The spokesman added that 'property was seized' during the visit.

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Investigations into suspected electoral malpractice began after a complaint was made ahead of the county elections on May 2.

Jonathan Childs – now UKIP councillor for East Flegg division – voiced concerns that his nomination papers had been tampered with.

Mr Smith vigorously denies any wrongdoing and has also raised concerns with the borough council.

A separate probe into alleged data theft on the part of Mr Smith is also ongoing after Ormesby borough councillor Charles Reynolds lodged a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office last month.

Mr Smith denies any wrongdoing.

Greg Jones, for the ICO, said: 'I can confirm that our inquiries into this matter are ongoing.'

In a separate development, Mr Smith has stepped aside from his shadow cabinet position as opposition portfolio holder for culture, communications and customer service.

Norfolk County Council UKIP leader Toby Coke confirmed that Mr Smith was no longer in his position.

Mr Smith said: 'We are now three months in to an investigation that has seen no charges, despite everything I possess having gone through a fine tooth comb, not a single charge or even a caution has ever been given. The voters had their choice to vote UKIP in May and decided to do so, with these rumours circulating well before polling day.'

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