TWO council workers cost bosses more than £12,000 by issuing parking permits and cancelling fines for friends and family, a court heard.

Heather Ffrench, 52, of Sparrows Herne, Basildon, and Anthony Olomofe, 46, of Curling Tye, Basildon, both worked for Southend Council between 2009 and 2016, when up to 38 alleged frauds were carried out.

Basildon Crown Court heard Ffrench, who worked in the parking department as a parking notice officer, faces the bulk of the charges. She denies 30 counts of fraud by abuse of position.

Olomofe, who was employed in the council’s IT department, denies four counts of fraud by abuse of position and four counts of fraud by false representation.

Ramiz Gursoy, prosecuting, told jurors that despite the long list of charges the nature of the case is very simple.

He said: “You have heard a lot of words in the indictment. But it boils down to fraud committed by two people, Miss Ffrench and Mr Olomofe.

“They carried out that fraud by abusing their positions of trust, because they are both employees of Southend Council.

“It all boils down to parking permits and what they call parking charge notices - in short parking tickets.”

The court heard Ffrench had worked for the council for 15 years while Olomofe had been employed for eight years. The alleged frauds started in May 2009.

Ffrench is accused of fraudulently issuing 13 permits, including at least one to herself and one to Olomufe. The permits had a combined value of £11,880.

She is also alleged to have cancelled a ticket for Olomofe, who had a habit of racking up parking fines.

Mr Gurjoy said: “He had been issued work parking permits so that he could exercise his duties. However, there are certain restrictions on even those permits and he was not allowed to park in certain areas. He used his parking permit to park in areas he should not be parked in and received parking tickets.

“Some he challenged through the formal channels, some he paid, some were cancelled by Miss Ffrench without going through the proper channels.”

The court heard that on one occasion Ffrench gave the reason for cancellation as “produced a valid permit.”

However, no such permit had been issued to Olomofe. It was not until three months later that he obtained one by using a fake name.

The court heard Ffrench was also caught with a fraudulent permit in the council’s own car park in Victoria Avenue, Southend. That permit was made out in a fictitious name and address.

The trial continues.