A pensioner told a court she thought she was backing a former Tory MP in his bid to become a Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex when he knocked on her door.

Dr Bob Spink, 69, allegedly employed a "casual and misleading approach" while canvassing for UKIP colleagues on doorsteps ahead of the polls last May.

He is said to have "disarmed voters" by directing conversation away from UKIP, instead winning residents over by talking of Europe, policing on the streets and his PCC nomination.

Many were familiar with Spink following his two stints as Conservative MP for Castle Point, near Basildon, between 1992 and 1997 and again in 2001.

He later became UKIP's first MP in April 2008 after defecting from the Conservatives but redesignated himself an independent later that year and losing the seat in 2010.

Some voters reported seeing "a very large man", UKIP election agent James Parkin, 38, accompanying Spink collecting signatures, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Tom Nicholson has said Spink and Parkin obtained the signatures of four residents of the St Peter's Ward, among others, without properly explaining what they were for.

Today, jurors heard from two voters canvassed by the politician, married pensioners Brian and Ann Lee, who eventually signed forms supporting UKIP councillor Sandra Aubrey.

The pair recognised Spink from the local Conservative Club and had spoken with him about his run for the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner position.

Mrs Lee told the court how her husband went to the front door before she came to join them.

"I knew that he had been our local MP for a start, and that he lived quite locally as well," she said.

"It is very familiar to see his picture but we didn't really personally get to know him."

The pensioner said Spink "did most of the talking" with conversation focussing on "his application to be Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex and just to support him in his bid2.

She said "We thought we were signing to support him" as she produced the leaflet he gave them on the day, which she held up to the camera as she gave evidence via a videolink from Basildon Crown Court.

One showed Spink's name, with slogans printed on it including 'Bobbies on the beat', 'Police stations open' and 'immigration controlled'.

"Did he mention UKIP at all?" asked Mr Nicholson.

"He said he was a UKIP now," she confirmed.

The prosecutor asked: "What did you think the purpose of your signature was?'"

Mrs Lee said: '"He needed names, or support, for his application to be Police Commissioner."

She added that Spink told her he needed 100 signatures, the same required to stand for the post.

There is no suggestion of impropriety in how Spink obtained his 100 signatories.

Mrs Lee was then shown the form she signed and claimed she "could not remember" whether Sandra Aubrey's name was filled in at the top at the time she endorsed it.

"Had you ever heard of someone called Sandra Aubrey?'" asked Mr Nicholson.

"No, I hadn't," she answered.

The prosecutor continued: "Did Mr Spink mention her name on the doorstep?"

Mrs Lee confirmed: "I don't think so, no."

"Did he mention any name for a local UKIP candidate?" asked Mr Nicholson, to which she again replied: "No."

"Did he mention anything to do with nominating a candidate at all, other than himself?"

Mrs Lee said: "No, only himself."

She added: "Personally, we always have a Tory councillor and I was assuming we would go along with that.

"It was only a question of the police that we were going to look at, to see if that could be improved on.

"That was all."

Mr Nicholson asked her: "Had you realised this was to nominate a UKIP councillor for the local election, what would you have said to Mr Spink?'

"We would have probably said no,' she replied.

"That is not what we thought he was there for."

Mrs Lee told jurors it "did not seem logical" and said the "very affable and friendly" Spink was there as part of his own campaign for a "different position" in the same polls.

She conceded that 'if' any mention was made of the local elections, she could not recall it.

Spink, of Downer Road, Benfeet, Essex, denies five counts of causing or permitting a false signature to be included in a nomination form.

Parkin, of Castle View Road, Canvey, denies six like offences.

The trial, expected to last four weeks, continues tomorrow.