THE Crown Prosecution Service has again said there will be no charges over a five-year property grant fraud investigation.

Citing county council witness statements with ‘conflicting evidence’ and a missing hard drive that could contain vital evidence, the CPS dismissed an appeal to reconsider bringing charges.

Pembrokeshire County Councillors were left furious in July when the CPS first said there was insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction in the Commercial Property Grants Scheme probe.

The case revolved around alleged fraud over grants to refurbish shops and business premises in Pembroke Dock.

The Welsh Government suspended payments on the scheme in 2014 when allegations first surfaced.

Among the claims were that grants were received for work that was not done.

Developer Cathal McCosker has since paid back a significant amount of money received under the scheme.

In July councillors agreed to appeal the CPS decision not to prosecute under the Victims' Right of Review.

But the CPS has now written to the county council to once again state they do not believe there is enough evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.

In a letter to be discussed by county councillors at full council on Thursday, Andrea Bradford of the CPS, said: “The PCC witness statements contain conflicting evidence. In addition some of these statements contain information which does not assist the case. I am of the view that these inconsistencies are such that they would undermine a prosecution.”

The letter details “admissions made about the inadequacy of staff training, the competence of the case worker and an opinion was expressed that in relation to some of the grant applications there was no fraud.”

The CPS again reiterated concerns it had that a caseworker’s hard drive with potential evidence relevant to the case had not been kept.

“The caseworker is one of the most important individuals in this case. The caseworker was interviewed under caution and stated that there was relevant material on his computer. In interviews which took place with the suspected they stated that the case worker was aware of what the suspects were doing.

"This was an issue specifically raised by the defence as a matter which would need to be considered and is therefore a reasonable line of enquiry. It would be difficult to deal with this claim without the computer.”

The CPS letter again references allegations that documents contained in a data room were interfered with and raised concerns over material placed into the public domain by a councillor on his blog.

“This could lead to an argument that a fair trial is not possible,” the letter adds.

Full council meets at County Hall at 10am on Thursday, October 10.