AN election candidate has apologised for a ‘school boy error’ after distributing election leaflets including false information.

Leaflets distributed by Simon Breedon - Ukip’s Nethermayne candidate in next month’s elections - have been criticised after the text claimed that rearranging a public meeting cost the taxpayer half a million pounds.

Mr Breedon has apologised to residents, claiming that it was a ‘typo’ and should have only read £50,000, rather than £500,000 - but Basildon Council insist it cost just £20,000.

The claim appeared under the title “Nethermayne Gypsy and Traveller Pitches – Fake News” - stating the public meeting was a “political stunt that cost taxpayers £500k and change”.

The claim was in relation to the infrastructure, growth and development committee meeting last month.

The day before, the Friends of Basildon Golf Course held a public meeting with 500 attendees - the next day the committee meeting had to be rearranged due to the volume of residents attending.

The meeting was held six days later, at Basildon’s Sporting Village.

Mick Toomer, chair of the community group said: “To suggest that their protest cost the taxpayer half a million pounds is a total nonsense.”

Mr Breedon acknowledged the error and said: “If I have to print more, it will be corrected.

“It is quite disappointing because it is a mistake.

“It is a school boy error that should not have happened, but it has.

“All we can do is apologise for the mistake and insist it was a genuine mistake. ”

A Basildon Council spokesman said: “Costs are still being finalised, but the Infrastructure, Growth and Development Committee meeting is estimated to have cost in the region of £20,000 as a result of the Basildon Sporting Village closing from 5pm onwards on Monday, March 19.”