A MAN who registered his dog to vote in tomorrow's local elections could face jail or a £5,000 fine.

Gavin Huckvale, from Toothill, has had to tuck his tail between his legs and write a grovelling apology to Swindon Council's director of law and democratic services, Stephen Taylor.

If the letter does not arrive today Gavin could be prosecuted for the offence of supplying false electoral information.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of 51 weeks' imprisonment or a fine of up to £5,000.

Gavin, 29, told the Adver earlier this month that his dog, Bobby, had been sent a polling card and hinted that it would be interesting to see how far he could take it.

Asked at the time whether he had put Bobby's name on the electoral roll as a joke Gavin said he hadn't.

But after a visit by the police, prompted by Swindon Council, Gavin has now admitted that it is definitely his handwriting on the list.

He said: "I just don't have any idea how I've done this. I must be cracking up.

"I must have put it down completely unconsciously - it certainly wasn't a practical joke.

"I don't know how to explain it. I know it sounds crazy but it really was a mistake.

"If I'd known that it was me who had put the dog's name down I wouldn't have gone to the press and made all that fuss."

Mr Taylor said: "Because of Mr Huckvale's statement in the Adver last Saturday to the effect that he didn't put his dog's name on the form and that he planned to take the dog to the polling station to vote, I referred the matter to the police.

"False information was given by Mr Huckvale as the form clearly showed that Mr Huckvale did write the dog's name on it.

"I was concerned that him taking the dog to a polling station to vote would make the situation worse, put the polling station staff in a difficult position, and could inconvenience voters.

"Also, the council was clearly being accused of incompetence and an electoral error when this was not the case.

"I was asked by the police whether I would accept a written apology from Mr Huckvale. I confirmed that I would, provided that it was sent immediately and publicised in the same manner as the original article, with the Advertiser also being sent a copy of the letter.

"In this way, the integrity of the electoral system would be protected with the residents of Swindon being assured that deliberately giving false electoral information is a serious matter and will be treated as such."

Gavin said: "I've sent a letter to Mr Taylor saying that I'm sorry and I've sent the polling card back as well, so Bobby definitely won't be voting.

"He didn't like the look of the candidates anyway."