A BRADFORD man who was caught up in the Post Office Horizon scandal has backed a petition calling for a former boss to be stripped of her CBE.

The Horizon scandal, which has been described as the most widespread miscarriage of justice in UK history, saw more than 700 Post Office branch managers handed criminal convictions after faulty Fujitsu accounting software made it appear as though money was missing.

One of those affected was Gregory Harding, who ran the Post Office at Hipperholme, Halifax, until he was accused of stealing more than £20,000 in 2010.

Mr Harding was handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to complete 200 hours' community service when he was convicted at Bradford Crown Court.

But in 2021, aged 61, his conviction was overturned. 

'Everyone responsible for mess should be ashamed'

Paula Vennells oversaw the Post Office while it routinely denied there were problems with Horizon. 

Now, demands for the Honours Forfeiture Committee to remove Ms Vennells' CBE have emerged again after ITV aired a new drama into the scandal, called Mr Bates vs The Post Office.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Millions of viewers have been watching Mr Bates vs The Post Office on ITVMillions of viewers have been watching Mr Bates vs The Post Office on ITV (Image: ITV)

An online petition, which was set up three years ago to challenge Ms Vennells' honour, has now reached nearly 500,000 signatures.

Mr Harding told the Telegraph & Argus: "Everyone responsible for this scandal, this mess, should be ashamed of themselves. 

"They should be brought to justice.

"I definitely back the petition calling for Ms Vennells' CBE to be removed."

Ms Vennells said she was "truly sorry" for the "suffering" caused to sub-postmasters who were wrongly convicted of offences.

Mr Harding described having lost friends after his wrongful conviction for one count of false accounting, with people "blanking" him and "walking straight past" him.

"It was a nightmare, a hell of a time," he said.

"I feel a lot better now - but obviously I'll never forget what happened.

"How could I?"

Praise for Mr Bates vs The Post Office

Mr Harding hailed Mr Bates vs The Post Office, saying: "I've watched it and I was so surprised at how accurate it was.

"I really welcome the series and commend the producers for how they've handled it.

"It's important to raise awareness of this scandal and what so many people went through."

A Post Office spokesperson said: "We sincerely apologise to the victims for the devastating impact of the Post Office Horizon IT scandal on the lives of so many. 

"We are doing all we can to provide redress and urge anyone affected who has not yet come forward to do so."