A FORMER Westhoughton mayor has appeared in court accused of stealing thousands of pounds from his elderly father.

Dressed in a suit and tie, James Gilfillan, aged 54, pictured, spoke only to confirm his name and address.

Gilfillan, who now lives at the White Horse pub, Market Place, Howden, Goole, is accused of stealing £23,500 from his 82-year-old father, James Gilfillan senior, who lives in a care home.

He is also charged with two counts of fraud in which he is said to have taken out a Wonga Loan in his father’s name between July 3 and 27 last year and also used his father’s identity to take out a personal loan between April 1 and 10 last year.

Gilfillan is also accused of possessing his father’s Lloyds TSB bank card in May last year for use in connection with fraud.

Gilfillan was a former councillor and served as Westhoughton town mayor from 2007 to 2008.

He also previously worked as a teacher and was a Labour Party representative, but has since moved to North Humberside where he and his wife Kathy became landlords of a pub last year.

The former mayor did not enter a plea when he appeared in court yesterday and magistrates sent the case to Bolton Crown Court to be heard next on August 8.

Gilfillan was granted bail on condition he does not contact his father or brother, David Gilfillan.