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Great Yarmouth: Former UKIP candidate Matthew Smith insists he didn't forge signatures

Matthew Smith.

A former UKIP parliamentary candidate for Great Yarmouth has insisted he didn't forge signatures on nomination papers for the county council elections in Norfolk in 2013.

Matthew Smith, the party's election agent at the time, told a jury at Norwich Crown there was no motive for him to do it and he had no idea who was responsible.

27-year-old Mr Smith from Gorleston, pleads not guilty to six counts of making a false statement in the papers.

He also denies three charges of making false nomination papers.

He said the prosecution appeared to be suggesting that he had a magical team of forgers hiding in his back pocket.

He insisted this wasn't the case and said it couldn't be ruled out that others had forged signatures to try and discredit him.

Because of the court case, Matthew Smith has stood down as a parliamentary candidate.

Two other men, 60-year-old Michael Monk from Hopton and 19-year-old Daniel Thistlethwaite from Belton, each deny one charge of making a false statement in nomination papers.

The trial continues.

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Ukip councillor denies forging grandmother's signature

Former Ukip councillor Matthew Smith arrives at Norwich Crown Court on the first day of his trial on January 5 Credit: PA

A former Ukip councillor on trial accused of electoral fraud has denied forging signatures on nomination forms - including those of his own grandmother, father and stepmother.

Matthew Smith, an ex-parliamentary hopeful for Great Yarmouth, is standing trial at Norwich Crown Court accused of six counts of making a false statement in nomination papers in May 2013.

Seven out of eight forms submitted by UKIP in that campaign were alleged to contain forged signatures and all 10 signatures on the nomination form for Magdalen ward candidate Matt Swann - including the three members of Smith's family - were found to be fake.

Smith, 27, of Gorleston, Norfolk, was asked in court to describe some of the people he is supposed to have collected signatures from.

He replied: "If you're going round an estate of mostly elderly people, one looks very similar to another - I know that sounds cruel but it's true."

In many of the cases, he was not personally responsible for collecting the signatures so could not say why they did not match records like passports and driving licenses.

Smith also denies three charges of making false nominations papers.

Two other men - UKIP member Michael Monk and Daniel Thistlethwaite are also on trial. Each deny one charge of making a false statement in nomination papers.

The trial continues.

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Daredevil proposal for circus couple in Great Yarmouth

Bira and Gasmin got engaged on Boxing Day Credit: ITV News Anglia

A Thunderdome motorbike rider has proposed in dare-devil style in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Brazillian, Bira Nogueira decided to ask his girlfriend Gasmin, who is from Germany, to marry him on stage.

Bira had already performed his nail-biting act in front of the audience on Boxing Day.

His future wife is also part of the circus as a juggler and says she had no idea he was about to propose.

Bira says he doesn't get nervous about doing his dangerous act, but asking Gasmin to marry him was a different matter.

Circus juggler, 19-year-old Gasmin, said yes to the proposal Credit: ITV News Anglia

"I was quite nervous in a different way, it was surreal actually."

– Bira Nogueira, Circus performer
Biro made his proposal at the Hippodrome, Great Yarmouth Credit: ITV News Anglia

24-year-old woman from Great Yarmouth wanted by police

Leoni Robson is wanted on recall to prison. Credit: Norfolk Police

Norfolk police are trying to trace a 24-year-old woman wanted for breaching the terms of her licence.

Detectives are appealing for help from members of the public to find Leoni Robson, who is from the Great Yarmouth area. She is wanted on recall to prison.

Robson is described as white, 5ft 1in tall, with long blonde hair, which is shaven on one side. She has blue eyes and tattoos on her left arm and right hand.

She has links to the Yarmouth, Norwich and Durham areas and police are keen to hear from anyone who may have information concerning her whereabouts.

Anyone with information should call police on 101 immediately.

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Dinky dog Belle passes away

In October we told you about a hotel owner in Great Yarmouth who wondered if her dinky dog was the smallest in the world because she was the same size as the family pet hamster.

Belle was not much bigger than a hamster Credit: ITV News Anglia

That was Belle, a Yorkshire terrier, who at seven weeks old was eight times smaller than she should be.

Well, her owner has been in touch to say that sadly Belle died at the weekend. She had been having seizures, she was the sole survivor of a litter of four. She was named after Peter Pan's pocket-size fairy, Tinkerbell.

Belle's owner, Karenza Cruse, took over parenting duties when Belle's mother Darcy rejected her.

Click here to read more about Belle.

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