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Ecologist denies 'puffing up' CV to get job

PUBLISHED: 08:00 08 June 2019

Ecologist accused of puffing up CV by claiming she had a Bat licence to get a job with a Lavenham firm at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Ecologist accused of puffing up CV by claiming she had a Bat licence to get a job with a Lavenham firm at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

An ecologist accused of fraud has denied "puffing up" her qualifications to get a job with a Suffolk company.

Giving evidence during her trial at Ipswich Crown Court Elizabeth Wakeford, known as Hetty, denied being dishonest and deliberately misleading employers about her credentials.

The court has heard that Wakeford was arrested at James Blake Associates in Lavenham in March last year after it was allegedly discovered she had misled them about her qualifications.

Wakeford, of Compton Terrace, London, has denied three offences of fraud relating to claims that she held a Bat level 2 licence and a Great Crested Newt licence.

Following her arrest Wakeford told officers she was an "accredited" person which meant that she could work under someone else's bat licence.

She said this meant she had worked with someone with a bat licence who had given her a letter enabling her to act under their licence.

"The prosecution says the defendant has never held such qualifications and the reason she held herself out to hold such qualifications was to secure positions of employment and therefore payment of salaries to which she would not have been in post for," said David Wilson, prosecuting.

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The court heard that in 2017 James Blake Associates, which specialises in landscape architecture, planning and ecology, advertised for a professional field ecologist who ideally had a bat and great crested newt licence.

Wakeford applied for the role and submitted a covering letter and CV setting out her assertion that she held both a bat and great crested newt licence, said Mr Wilson.

During an interview with the company in April 2017 Wakeford allegedly repeated the claim that she held the relevant licences.

Mr Wilson said the owner of the company said that if it been known that Wakeford didn't hold the bat and great crested newt licences she would not have been short listed let alone given the job.

Wakeford told police that when she applied for the job at James Blake Associates she told them she was an accredited person.

When officers told her that her CV stated that she had a bat level 2 licence and there was no mention of her being an accredited person she said this was a mistake.

During her evidence Wakeford's barrister, Michael Levy, asked her if she had "puffed up" her qualifications to con employers into giving her a job and she replied "No."

The trial continues next week.

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