A FORMER Tory councillor has been jailed after spending £35,864 on “fine dining and expensive living” and claiming it back on expenses.

Daniel Smy visited London hotels and shops including the Savoy, Royal Horseguards and Selfridges, and claimed for a chauffeur-driven journey from Dorset to the Carlton Club, a court was told.

The former deputy chairman of South Dorset Conservative Association was sentenced to 12 months in prison at Bournemouth Crown Court yesterday. He pleaded guilty to 10 charges of theft and forgery as chairman of the Portman Building Society’s group staff association.

Smy, 35, of Mount Skippet Way, Crossways, was a West Dorset District Councillor when the 10 offences took place between 2003 and 2006.

Smy – who asked the court to take 86 further offences into consideration – is also ex-chairman of Crossways Parish Council.

Prosecuting, Alison England said he was in a position of trust at the Portman Building Society as he oversaw contributions to the staff association. She said treasurer Diana Stevenson realised Smy’s expenses were inappropriate and challenged him about an invoice for a visit to a Dorchester pub.

When previous claims were looked at, cheques with forged signatures were found. Miss England said Smy spent the money leading a life of fine dining and living in top hotels.

The court was told Smy admitted using his employer’s funds for his own use and saw it as a perk of the job as his £18,000-a-year salary was not enough.

In mitigation Robert Grey said Smy was a man of good character with a history of helping people but had felt “a build-up of stress and isolation” and “got carried away”.

He said Smy was on anti-depressants and was “beside himself with shame”.

The Rev Jaqueline Birdseye from the Moreton Parishes told Judge John Beashel of Smy’s involvement with community projects. But he was sentenced to 12 months for each of the 10 offences with the sentences to run concurrently.