A man accused of fraudulently signing cladding safety forms has appeared in court.

Thomas Clarke appeared at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday charged with fraud by false representation.

The 33-year-old, of Second Avenue, Rainhill, Merseyside, is accused of signing 88 EWS1 forms in the name of Sophie Magee, without her knowledge, with the intention of making £17,600.

He is alleged to have committed the offence between March 17 and July 23 2020.

Clarke, wearing a blazer and blue shirt, spoke to confirm his name, age and address, and indicated a not guilty plea.

Chair of the bench Stuart Moore sent the case to Liverpool Crown Court, where Clarke will appear on August 31.

The EWS1 forms were introduced following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 so residents and property management companies could have the cladding of their building assessed for potential fire risks.

The forms require an appropriate professional to confirm the checks have been completed.

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A Merseyside Police spokesman said Clarke was charged as part of a 19-month investigation launched after residents of high-rise apartment buildings in areas including South Wales and London reported forms which were signed off by someone who was not authorised to do so.

Without valid EWS1 forms, the residents were unable to evidence the limited risk to their properties, which affected their ability to get mortgages, police said.

Clarke was given unconditional bail.