A POLICE investigation has been launched in the run-up to next month's local elections after reports of possible postal voting fraud.

Officers from Pendle CID confirmed they were investigating complaints from several political parties in the borough concerning possible manipulation of postal votes in the May 1 election.

Detective Inspector Derek Jones, of Pendle CID, said there were several lines of inquiry but would not reveal exact details of the allegations.

He said: "We have had a number of reports in relation to possible election fraud in the future local party elections. We have received a number of complaints from local parties in relation to suspected fraud, all of which revolve around postal voting.

"These reports are being investigated by officers from Pendle CID."

Liberal Democrat councillor for the Whitefield Ward, Tony Greaves, said the party had passed on information to the police relating to two cases in which they had concerns over possible fraud.

Coun Greaves said he also had worries concerning a process known as "roll-stuffing" in which a number of electors appeared to be registered more than once at different addresses.

Coun Mohammed Iqbal, Labour group leader, said: "We want this to be a fair election - the Labour Party has a history of playing it fair and we have every confidence in our candidates."