A NEWLY elected UKIP councillor and his wife have pleaded not guilty to benefits fraud charges today.

Councillor Peter Lagoda and his wife Maria Lagoda (formerly Maria Bell), of Cocketts Drive, Wisbech, entered not guilty pleas when they appeared at Peterborough Crown Court charged with one count of fraud.

Maria Lagoda also denied six counts of dishonestly failing to promptly notify Fenland District Council about changes in their circumstances that would affect their benefit entitlements.

Judge Peter Murphy ruled that the couple will go on trial at Peterborough Crown Court on September 2. Both were given unconditional bail.

Cllr Lagoda, a former West Norfolk Conservative councillor who previously lived in Bevis Way, Gaywood, King’s Lynn, pleaded not guilty when the case first appeared before King’s Lynn magistrates on May 7.

Earlier this month he won the Cambridgeshire County Council seat of Wisbech South, ousting previous division councillor Simon King.

His father Bill was a former German prisoner of war who stayed on in England after the last war.

He spent 22 years with Wisbech fire service and was given ceremonial honours at his funeral.