South Bedfordshire council sues for damages after employee spends thousands of pounds on shopping spree

Council building surveyor David Relf, who allegedly stole up to £300,000 from his employers, is facing a legal battle for compensation.

South Bedfordshire District Council accuses Relf of using its money to buy hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of items.

The council accuses him of spending £76,472.27 of its money on kitchen equipment including fridges, a wine cooler, ovens and microwave ovens.

Now the council is suing Relf, of 234 Stockinstone Road, Luton, for damages for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

A senior building surveyor, he managed the council’s technical team maintaining council premises, but from 2001, he ordered items in the council’s name which were not for the council, but for himself and others, the writ says.

Relf also used the council’s money to buy items costing another £102,598.01, but the council does not know what the money went on, the writ says.

Relf bought a third variety of items, totalling £9,217.50, where the invoice had no description of the goods he bought, the writ claims. The products were brought through CEF, which issued another £72,047.72 worth of invoices which the council believes were for items not intended for the council’s use.

Relf admitted to the council on 17 September last year and to the police on 14 December 2007 that he had ordered items in the council’s name and authorised payment when they were for his personal use or for others, it is alleged.