A council fraud squad investigated dodgy Covid grant applications to the tune of £48,750 during the pandemic.

East Ayrshire Council’s corporate fraud team made sure public money wasn’t going to those who weren’t entitled to it.

A total of three suspicious business grant applications for £10,000 each were refused after investigations.

The team took back another £10,000 business grant payment after it was flagged up on a national fraud list.

A further £6,250 was recovered in another case.

The council’s chief auditor Eilidh Mackay presented the fraud team’s annual report covering 2020 to 2021 during the council’s governance and scrutiny committee on Wednesday, April 21.

Ms Mackay said the staff demonstrated “strong gatekeeping” during their involvement in the council’s handling of coronavirus grants.

She said: “We were embedded in the Covid grants process.”

And she told councillors the team advised on applications as well as appeals.

Ms Mackay added: “Good decisions were being made by colleagues.”

The team investigate fraud in relation to council tax, blue badges, housing tenancies, and business rates, among others.

Over the last financial year, 136 incidents of fraud were reported to the team from council staff and residents.

That number has fallen from 186 during 2019 to 2020 – which is likely due to the pandemic.

A total of 158 fraud cases worth £80, 253 were solved last year.

Committee chair Councillor Barry Douglas thanked Ms Mackay and her colleagues for the “sterling work” and said the council was in “safe hands".