DUMPED polling cards have left upcoming elections at risk of being targeted by fraudsters, according to a man who found a pile near his home.

Tony Anderson, 71, of Howard Close, Waltham Abbey, found the polling cards for the police and crime commissioner elections in the lobby of his block of flats.

“I was going out to see somebody and on the windowsill inside the front door were all the cards for the top floor, which includes my place,” he said.

“What would stop anyone who wanted to illegally vote in this election using them?

“We have a lot of people coming in from various companies and they could take those cards and use them.

“Every election is supposed to be absolutely, scrupulously honest.”

The cards give the location of the nearest polling station and must, by law be sent to every eligible elector, although they are not essential for people casting their vote.

The elections for a police commissioner, who will be responsible for setting the force’s priorities, overseeing its budget and hiring its chief constable, are due to take place on Thursday, November 15.

Epping Forest District Council has apologised for the oversight.

Ian Willett, counting officer for Epping Forest, said: "Polling cards must be returned to me by our delivery teams if they cannot be posted in the addressee's letter box.

“I am very sorry, this should not have occurred. I will remind our delivery teams of our procedures to prevent this from happening again in the future."

An Electoral Commission spokesman said: “We have been in contact with Epping Forest District Council who have confirmed that this is a one-off incident.

“They have assured us that they have the processes in place to ensure the correct delivery of poll cards to voters’ addresses.”