EXCLUSIVE: World record-breaking escapologist facing £300K council fraud trial
FRAUD TRIAL: Stuart Burrell is accused of a £300K fraud (Linkedin)
A FORMER Southend Council housing boss, who is a world record-breaking escapologist and strongman has been charged with a £307,000 fraud against the authority.
Stuart Burrell, of Eastcote Grove, Southend, who has appeared on the One Show and Robot Wars is facing four charges of fraud in connection with council suppliers while he was the council's acting head of private sector housing from May 2015 to January 2017.
ALLEGATIONS: The alleged fraud is said to have been carried out from the council offices (Wikipedia)
Burrell is alleged to have abused the position, intending to make a gain for himself, by authorising four payments worth thousands of pounds to suppliers.
The charges are that between May 18 2015 and December 16 2016 he authorised payments totalling £130,161 to businessman and charity leader Mustafa Ahmed.
The second charge is that between October 31 2016 and January 31 2017 he authorised payments worth £141,240 to Southend-based MSA Design Limited, a company run by Mr Ahmed.
AGENT: Burrell is alleged to have made a fraudulent payment to Host Property (Host Property)
He is alleged to have authorised a one-off payment of £11,700, to Southend letting agent Host Property Limited on or around 20 December 2016.
The final charge is that on or around 30 January 2017 he authorised a £24,300 payment to Steve Brown Services.
Mr Burrell's Linkedin profile says he was the council's head of private sector housing from 2017 to 2018.
Burrell is also an international speaker and radio presenter, according to his bio on the Shapiro International website.
RECORD BREAKER: Burrell has set 14 world records over 16 years (Starnow.com)
It says: "Stuart is an inspirational British multiple World Record Breaking Escapologist and Stamina based Weight Lifter.
"He is also a speaker, radio presenter, podcaster and writer.
"This is despite suffering bullying and abuse at School and, in his own words, ‘not having the best of starts in life’.
"In the last 16 years Stuart has set fourteen World Records in the fields of Escapology, Weight Lifting and Strongman style strength acts.
GET OUT OF THAT: Chainmail that Burrell has escaped from (Twitter)
"(He has) spent most of his working life working in both the private sector (retail and banking) and the public sector (local and regional government focused on Housing and the Environment).
"He is also a member of the Magic Circle in London."
Burrell, who is yet to enter a plea, was released by Southend Magistrates Court on Wednesday on unconditional bail.
The case is being sent to crown court for trial at a later date.