Jokers have a quack at expenses row MP

Children at at Newtown C of E Primary School in Gosport dress up as their favourite nursery rhyme characters          (171220-10)

Children dress up as their favourite nursery rhyme characters

Police have launched an investigation after pranksters spray-painted ducks outside Sir Peter Viggers' office in Gosport.

Three yellow ducks with pound signs were painted onto the pavement with the message 'caution ducks only' next to them.

A toy duck was also glued to a back window of Sir Peter's constituency office in Stoke Road – in reference to the 1,645 duck island he tried to claim on parliamentary expenses.

Police are now scouring CCTV footage to try and track down those behind the crime which is classed as 'criminal damage'.

The culprit could face a fine running into thousands of pounds.

Gosport's Tory council leader Mark Hook said: 'I think this is just childish antics.

'It's public property that's been graffitied and while some may see it as harmless, other people may view it as an act of mindless vandalism.'

The graffiti is believed to have been carried out on Friday night and was reported to the police at 11.20am on Saturday.

It has now been spray-painted over by a member of the Gosport Conservative Association, which shares the office with Sir Peter.

Sir Peter was told to step down at the next General Election by Tory leader David Cameron over his expenses.

As well as trying to claim for a duck island for his then Titchfield mansion, he claimed more than 30,000 of taxpayers' money for gardening over three years, including nearly 500 for 28 tons of manure.

Sir Peter was due to be back in Gosport over the bank holiday weekend to join in the celebrations for Gosport's 50-year twinning with the French town Royan.

But he rang Alderman Graham Hewitt, chairman of the twinning committee, from America and said he would not be coming because he didn't want his presence to overshadow the occasion.

Mr Hewitt said: 'Under the circumstances, I think it was the right thing for him to do as he said his presence may be detrimental.'

Sir Peter spent last week in America on a 59,000 trip with fellow members of the Treasury select committee to discuss the recession.


Just some of Sir Peter's expense claims:

Tried to claim for a 1,645 duck island, but an official at the House of Commons fees office said it was 'not allowable'.

He also submitted a 213.95 electrician's bill including fixing lights on a 'fountain' and 'hanging lights on Christmas tree'.

Sir Peter also claimed 1,800 on grass cutting and estate management, 533.23 on garden design, 460 on pest control, and 250 on irrigation.


This is the French chateau where Sir Peter Viggers is thought to be staying in the wake of the scandal surrounding his expense claims.

The impressive house in the vineyards of Burgundy is believed to have cost the MP around 1m.

As reported, Sir Peter sold his Titchfield home, which was the centre of the duck pond scandal, last year for 800,000.

So far the 71-year-old Tory has not spoken publicly since his expense claims were revealed last week, although he did release a statement over the weekend saying he was 'ashamed and humiliated'.

Despite attempts to contact him yesterday, Sir Peter was still unavailable for comment.

A telephone number for a Pierre Viggers is listed to an address in the Burgundy region. But when The News tried the number it would not connect. Sir Peter is not answering his mobile phone.

Mark Austin, spokesman for the local branch of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: 'The question is whether he would be able to afford this lifestyle if it wasn't at the taxpayers' expense.

'We have got a situation where people are using taxpayers' money to improve their second homes to their advantage and then selling them on for a profit to pay for their lifestyle.

'It just goes to show that these people are completely removed from the reality of life of their constituents.

'Sir Peter Viggers has abused the expense system to his advantage and is now enjoying this type of lifestyle at the taxpayers' expense.'

>> Vote in our latest web poll.