Fire chief denies fraud as his case is sent to Crown Court
By Court reporter | 11th March 2020
The former chief fire officer of Gloucestershire, Stewart Edgar, 52, has been sent for crown court trial after he denied fraud by selling himself a brigade Landrover at a knockdown price.
Mr Edgar, of Braehead drive, Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland, made a brief appearance before Cheltenham Magistrnates today to face the charge of fraud by abuse of his position as head of the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service.
He is alleged to have sold the 15 year old Landrover to a company with which he was connected for £500, turning down an offer from another bidder of more than £8,000.
Mr Edgar spoke in court only to confirm his name, address and date of birth.
Prosecutor Graham Dono said "The Crown's case is fully encapsulated within the charge.
"He was in a position of responsibility as chief fire officer.
"We say this is a serious breach of trust.
"And because of the monies involved it is not suitable to be dealt with at magistrates court and should be sent to crown court."
The magistrates agreed and bailed Mr Edgar to attend Gloucester crown court on April 9th for a pre-trial preliminary hearing.
The full charge he faces is that between April 1 2018 and May 1 2018 at Gloucester, while occupying the position of chief fire officer in which he was expected to safeguard or nor act against the interests of the fire service, he dishonestly abused his position by arranging for a company called 'Emergency One' to submit an offer of £500 for the Land Rover Defender reg number VU03 YEY without informing the brigade that the offer had been submitted on his behalf.
The charge goes on to allege that the £500 offer was accepted and that a higher offer of £8,250 from Terberg DTS (UK) Ltd was rejected.
Mr Edgar, who was being paid a salary of £147,000 a year chief at the time of his resignation in June 2018, was represented at today's hearing by lawyer Ben Handy.
Mr Edgar had received the OBE earlier that year in 2018 in recognition of 27 years public service.
He received the Queens Fire Service Medal at Buckingham Palace in 2013.
Mr Edgar and his wife Fiona have two daughters, Corah 27, and Lana, 24.
At the time of his appointment as Gloucestershire fire chief in 2014, Mr Edgar was working as chief of the Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service in Scotland having begun his career in Tayside in 1993.
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