Former Thanet councillors Konnor Collins and Helen Smith due in court today

Konnor Collins and Helen Smith

Former Thanet councillors Helen Smith and Konnor Collins – listed as Kevin and also known as Kevan – are due to appear at Canterbury Crown Court today (August 29) in connection with charges of stealing £847 worth of goods from Wyevale Garden Centre in Ramsgate.

Ms Smith is also charged with assault and driving dangerously in the garden centre car park. The alleged offences took place in April 2015.

Ms Smith, 53, and Mr Collins, 55, of St John’s Avenue in Ramsgate, were due to stand trial in September 2016 but the case has not yet been heard due to Mr Collins’ ill-health.

Northwood ward

The pair were previously Thanet councillors for Northwood ward, elected on a UKIP ticket in 2015, but stood down in June 2016 following revelation of the charges, which were served on them by post on September 17, 2015, and claims by The Walter Mitty Hunters Club that Mr Collins was untruthful in claims over his military record.

Thanet council demanded the resignations in light of the controversy and several months of non-appearance at council chambers.

The pair had quit UKIP to form the Democratic Independent Group (DIG) at protest over the lack of action on the Manston airport issue.

The hunters club, and later South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay, said if Mr Collins’ claims to have received an MBE, Conspicuous Gallantry Cross and the Military Cross for service in the Paras were true he would be “the most decorated veteran in the entire country.”

Today’s hearing is for ‘mention’ meaning it is simply for a decision on pleas and a decision on a trial date.

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