Teapots, tablecloths and eggs among council 'gifts'
A LIST including fruit and vegetables, flowers, cheap watches, a Danish teapot and a Romanian tablecloth sounds similar to what summer fête stalls might offer.
But for councillors at Lincolnshire's largest authority, these have been the gifts of appreciation they have been offered in the line of duty.
Stored within Lincolnshire County Council's headquarters in Newland, Lincoln, is a file containing gifts and hospitality offered to councillors from the past 25 years.
Members are advised to let officers know of any items worth £25 or more. But the list goes further.
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Shamed former leader Jim Speechley, who was jailed for misconduct in public office, is noted in 1998 as receiving a paperknife following a speech in Spilsby.
A former tenant offered eight "fresh-range eggs" to councillor Philip Keddell in July 1999 and current Labour group leader Councillor Robert Parker indicated he received a "cheapish watch, value £5" in 1995.
The list contains a number of gems such as Lincoln City football tickets, wine from a German minister, 12 bottles of Batemans Beer, a wallet, a BBC Radio Lincolnshire tape and a video of how the Grimsby Evening Telegraph works.
Conservative council leader Martin Hill said: "When you go to these events, people very kindly give you small gifts and it's correct they are declared.
"The vast majority are little tokens of thanks. You don't want to cause offence by turning it down and I don't think anyone will think anything of accepting fresh-range eggs."
Other less glamorous declarations include a bathroom mat set, a large box of fresh vegetables, a York- shire Television 1997 diary, a paperweight from the governor of Morton Hall, and a Sure Start teddy bear.
Nigel West, county council democratic support manager, said: "Councillors and officers in local government are required to register any gifts or hospitality that they receive as a course of their council work."