CAMPAIGNERS trying to block a school closure sent letters from non-existent addresses, it emerged today.
And protesters also delivered a petition which included 23 signatures from a single household.
Clr Ken Smith hit out at the forgeries, which aimed to exaggerate the opposition to shutting Castle Hall School in Mirfield.
The Kirklees Council schools boss said yesterday: “This is despicable”.
But campaigners dismissed any irregularities as only representing a tiny number of the total of protesters.
The council decided last month to close Castle Hall and expand Mirfield Free Grammar as part of a £200m schools plan for north Kirklees.
Parents, teachers and pupils had the chance to have their say on the controversial plan over the summer.
Some 2,943 people wrote letters or emails to the council, with only two in favour of closing Castle Hall.
Two in five Castle Hall pupils took part in the consultation, along with 48% of children at Mirfield Free Grammar. Some 263 parents and 132 school staff also responded.
Kirklees sent an acknowledgement to everyone who sent in comments. Two people wrote back saying they had not taken part in the consultation.
Another five acknowledgment letters were returned to Kirklees by the Royal Mail saying the address was unknown.
Clr Smith believes dozens more responses were fake.
He said: “One pile of about 40 forms had been filled out on block. You can see the impression left on the form from the one above it.
“It makes you wonder how many more were sent in under a wrong name.”
Kirklees officers also received a petition with 6,903 signatures calling for the school to stay open.
There were 23 signatures from a single household and 16 from another. Thirteen names were received from another address while two households contributed 11 signatures each.
Twenty signatures came from addresses that don’t exist while 512 names on the petition did not include a surname.
Clr Smith said: “It’s another example of fishy practice.”
The Ashbrow Labour man has contacted the police and the council’s legal department about the irregularities.
He said: “I’m trying to find out if a criminal offence has been committed. The police might be interested in this if it’s forgery.
“If we find that an offence has been committed then we ought to pursue it, but finding the culprit will be difficult.”
Clr Smith said the bogus responses undermined legitimate attempts to keep the school open.
He said: “I think this is shameful. Whoever did this has shown contempt for the system and for the people they pretend to represent.”
Karen Rowling, leader of Retain Education at Castle Hall, said yesterday that the parents’ pressure group had nothing to do with the bogus responses.
She said: “We have always been very fair and played by the rules. We definitely would not condone forging signatures or putting down false addresses.”
But Mrs Rowling said the number of bogus responses was tiny.
The Mirfield mum-of-four said: “Ken Smith is talking about seven letters out of 3,000, it sounds very, very minor.
“As for the petition, it only counts as one representation anyway.”
Mrs Rowling also denied council figures showing only 263 of the thousands of parents affected had responded.
She said: “The council categorised everyone who responded. If you didn’t say in your letter that you were a parent then you were put in another category.”
A police spokesman said: “There have been no official referrals made to Kirklees Police, however; we are aware that the council's legal department are looking into the matter.”