A ROYAL Borough councillor who was convicted of benefit fraud has resigned from his party's group.

Cllr Peter Lawless has resigned from the Conservative Group with immediate effect after he was convicted of claiming nearly £5,000 in housing benefit.

Cllr Lawless, who represents Eton Wick ward, was suspended from the group after he was given a two year conditional discharge after pleading guilty to three charges of failing to notify a change in circumstances which he knew affected his entitlement to benefit, at Slough Magistrates’ Court, on Friday.

Cllr David Burbage, Conservative Group leader, said: “Cllr Lawless had already been suspended by the Conservative Group after he had been charged with the offences, pending further action. Following the court case, I have accepted his immediate resignation from the Conservative Group.

“As he is no longer a group member, there is no further action we can take.” Cllr Lawless received £4,839.11 in housing benefit overpayments between May 16, 2011, and January 6, 2014, after applying for housing benefit in 2009 on the basis his Royal Mail wages could not cover rent.

After becoming a councillor in May 2011, until February 2014, he earned £19,590.48 in member allowance, which he did not declare to the council’s housing benefit team.

He also failed to notify the Royal Borough of monthly pension payments from the Royal Mail following a single lump sum payment of £13,998.88 on January 23, 2012.

Cllr Lawless was also ordered to pay costs of £400 and a £15 victim surcharge. He was caught after an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public to the council’s Beat the Cheat hotline.