Election candidate dumped hundreds of leaflets at rivals' homes as a 'joke'

A Derbyshire election candidate has admitted to “dumping” hundreds of her leaflets at her rivals’ homes as a “joke”. Cllr Dan Pegg, Labour candidate, and Cllr Stuart Swann, the Conservative candidate, for the Linton division on Derbyshire County Council, had claimed that independent candidate, Amy Wheelton posted hundreds of her leaflets through their letterboxes. Ms Wheelton initially denied the claims but later confessed and apologised, when presented with CCTV evidence from Cllr Pegg’s neighbour, seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Cllr Pegg had seen Cllr Wheelton at around 2.45pm today (Monday, April 26) out of his upstairs window of his home in Coton Park, Linton, and that she was allegedly wearing a chequered shirt and body-warmer, before she left in her election “wagon”. Cllr Wheelton has a distinctive red pick-up truck with a large poster board in the back, reading “Amy Wheelton, Independent, #keepitlocalwithAmy”, along with a picture of herself, pictures of which can be found on her Facebook page. When he went downstairs to go to the door, Cllr Pegg found hundreds of leaflets, estimating around 200, on his welcome mat.

He said he asked neighbours if they had any CCTV footage of the incident and one looked through their CCTV and found footage of Cllr Wheelton’s red pick-up truck, including the election poster board, parked up outside of Cllr Pegg’s home at 2.50pm. The LDRS has seen a screenshot of the footage, showing the vehicle, with a large election sign – with Cllr Wheelton’s name and picture on it – on the back, outside of Cllr Pegg’s house. The neighbour who provided the footage said they had allegedly seen a woman with dark hair and wearing a dark gillet, get out of the vehicle and allegedly walk up to Cllr Pegg’s house.

Cllr Pegg, a dad of six, told the LDRS: “It is just childish behaviour. We’re trying to be elected to be in a position to help people and she has done this. “It is frustrating and very erratic and it is a bit far over the line.

“I’m a bit worried about it all and my wife is really anxious now as well. It is bullying behaviour.”

A screenshot of CCTV footage from one of Cllr Pegg's neighboursA screenshot of CCTV footage from one of Cllr Pegg’s neighbours

Meanwhile, Cllr Stuart Swann, saw Cllr Wheelton parked up at a kennel in Castle Gresley at 3.34pm getting out of her red pick-up truck. When he returned to his Castle Gresley home he, too, said he found a pile of hundreds of Amy Wheelton election leaflets on his welcome mat.

He told the LDRS: “I have just been out delivering leaflets and come home to find that I have got more leaflets than I started with, and they are not mine. “It is not the actions of a sane person. I definitely saw her there and her pickup.

“I suppose it proves that the electorate of Linton division did not want her leaflets so she thought she would give them to Dan and I. “I think it is absolutely bizarre. I am trying to run a positive campaign and the last thing I would think of would be to bother the other candidates with pictures like this.

What would happen if a resident gets on the wrong side of her? Is this the sort of thing they should expect?” Cllr Wheelton, when asked by the LDRS about the allegations, said: “Oh have I?

I’m unaware of that. “I haven’t been leaflet dropping today, I think I’ve got better things to do, you know. I’m out on the farm at the moment.

The leafletsThe leaflets

“I’ve been up the field, working on the farm.

I started at 6am this morning. “It is a bit bizarre. I am in the field with the sheep at the moment.”

When Cllr Wheelton was asked if she knew who was responsible for delivering huge piles of her leaflets to her rivals’ homes, she said: “No, I wouldn’t. I’m in a field with some sheep at the moment and I have been most of the afternoon.” When asked if anyone else has access to her leaflets, she said: “No, not that I’m aware of.

I’ve been the one delivering them.” When asked if she thinks someone has stolen the leaflets and dumped them at Cllr Pegg and Cllr Swann’s homes, she said: “No, I have no idea at all.” When the LDRS re-contacted Cllr Wheelton after the CCTV evidence was found, she said: “To set the record straight I was, when you rang, which I explained to you, working with sheep on the farm and misheard you.

“I finished leaflet dropping last week and I thought as a joke I would drop the remainder leaflets to my competitors. “In hindsight I recognise this was not the best idea and I apologise.” All three of the candidates had been part of the Conservatives together up until December, four months ago.

However, Cllr Pegg has since resigned to join an independent group, before joining Labour, and Cllr Wheelton was suspended from the Conservative Party and is now an independent.