A FORMER police officer is to stand trial later this year over benefit fraud charges relating to claims made for both himself and his wife.

Vaughan Dodds is accused of obtaining almost £61,000, to which he and his wife Mandy were not entitled, as a result of the allegedly fraudulent claims made both during and after the time he was a serving officer.

As part of his 14 years’ police service Mr Dodds was a member of the armed protection team guarding the Sedgefield constituency home of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, in Trimdon, County Durham.

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He left the Durham force in November 2007, since when he is said to have claimed disability living allowance, income support, plus council tax benefit for himself.

Similar claims were said to have been made by Dodds as an appointee on behalf of his wife, from April 2005.

Appearing at Durham Crown Court today (Friday February 14), he pleaded ‘not guilty’ to 12 charges, six relating to claims made for himself and six as appointee for his wife.

They span a period up to December 2009, with sums involved totalling £60,900. 

The case was adjourned and 44-year-old Mr Dodds, of Gardners Place, Langley Moor, Durham, was bailed to return for the start of his trial, which is expected to last up to five days, on Monday, April 28.