Man in court charged with fraud after almost 100 residents receive 'forged' cladding-safety forms

Thomas Clarke fraudulently signing cladding safety forms. Credit: PA images

A man has appeared in court accused of fraudulently signing cladding safety forms to certify their building was not a potential fire risk.

Almost 100 residents in high-rise flats received the 'forged' forms which, a court heard, had been signed in the name of somebody else, without her knowledge.

Thomas Clarke, 33, is charged with fraud by false representation, after 88 EWS1 forms were signed by 'Sophie Magee', with the intention of making £17,600.

Liverpool Magistrates Court heard he is alleged to have committed the offence between 17 March and 23 July 2020.

What is an EWS1 form?

External Wall Fire review forms (EWS1 forms) were introduced following the Grenfell fire disaster, to prove to lenders that cladding on residential buildings is safe.

The forms require an appropriate professional to confirm the checks have been completed.

Without a signed EWS1 form, home-owners cannot sell as their properties are valued at ‘zero.’

Clarke, of Rainhill, Merseyside, spoke to confirm his name, age and address, and indicated a not guilty plea.

Chair of the bench Stuart Moore sent the case to Liverpool Crown Court, where Clarke will appear on 31 August.

A Merseyside Police spokesman said Clarke was charged as part of a 19-month investigation launched after residents of high-rise apartment buildings in areas including South Wales and London reported forms which were signed off by someone who was not authorised to do so.

Without valid EWS1 forms, the residents were unable to evidence the limited risk to their properties, which affected their ability to get mortgages, police said.

Clarke was given unconditional bail.

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