Election candidate dumps hundreds of campaign leaflets at rivals' homes

A South Derbyshire woman standing in the forthcoming county council elections dumped hundreds of campaign leaflets at her rivals’ homes. Labour candidate Dan Pegg and Tory rival Stuart Swann have claimed independent Amy Wheelton posted the leaflets through their letterboxes. Ms Wheelton, who is taking on Councillors Pegg and Swann for the Linton seat, initially denied the claims – but later confessed and apologised when incriminating CCTV footage emerged.

Councillor Pegg had seen Councillor Wheelton at around 2.45pm on Monday, April 26 out of his upstairs window of his home in Coton Park, Linton, allegedly wearing a chequed shirt and body-warmer, before she left in her election “wagon”. Councillor 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, Councillor 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 Councillor Wheelton’s red pick-up truck, including the election poster board, parked up outside Councillor Pegg’s home at 2.50pm. The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) has seen a screenshot of the footage, showing the vehicle, with a large election sign – with Councillor Wheelton’s name and picture on it – on the back outside Councillor Pegg’s house. The neighbour who provided the footage alleged they had seen a woman with dark hair and wearing a dark gillet get out of the vehicle and walk up to Councillor Pegg’s house.

The dad of six said: “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.”

The stack of leaflets at Cllr Stuart Swann's house in Castle GresleyThe stack of leaflets at Councillor Stuart Swann’s house in Castle Gresley

Meanwhile, Councillor Stuart Swann saw Councillor 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 said: “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 pick-up.

“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?”

Councillor Dan Pegg, the Labour candidate for Linton in the Derbyshire County Council election

Councillor Wheelton, when asked by the Local Democracy Reporting Service 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. “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 Councillor 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.”

Councillor Stuart Swann, the Conservative candidate for Linton in the Derbyshire County Council election

When asked if she thought someone had stolen the leaflets and dumped them at Councillor Pegg and Councillor Swann’s homes, she said: “No, I have no idea at all.” When the LDRS re-contacted Councillor 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. However, Councillor Pegg has since resigned to join an independent group, before joining Labour, and Councillor Wheelton was suspended from the Conservative Party and is now an independent.

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