A housing officer who manipulated the system with insider knowledge in a bid to get a home himself has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Rajesh Kumar Rattu lied on forms stating he had never held a social housing tenancy and had lived in the borough of Slough for five years before making an application in 2017.

He even forged a letter purporting to be from his mother confirming his residency status.

The 34-year-old made two further declarations confirming the false information as correct as he waited to receive social housing.

Meanwhile the housing officer who had worked with the council for 15 years had moved in with his girlfriend in Waterbeach Road, Manor Park and had transferred his car insurance to the property.

His lies were unravelled when enquiries about his application revealed he had previously held a housing association tenancy for a property in Datchet until April 2014 and had gone on to reside at another address in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, until June 2014. He then moved back to Slough to his family’s home in St Andrews Way, Cippenham.

Mr Rattu admitted four counts of fraud relating to the original housing application, the forged letter and two annual renewals and was sentenced at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

He was sentenced to six months imprisonment for each count, to run concurrently, suspended for 12 months. He was ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work, pay £1,500 costs and a victim surcharge of £115.

The council’s corporate fraud team had asked for £3021.20 to cover the entire costs of the prosecution, but this was halved by the magistrates as Mr Rattu is now unemployed after resigning from the council during the investigation.

Richard West, interim director of place and development, said: “The magistrates said that the manipulation of the system could have had consequences for other residents in the borough.

“The fraud could have caused considerable harm to someone else who would have missed out on the opportunity to be adequately housed."