A former West Wiltshire District Council trade union official has written a personal reminiscence of an IT scandal that rocked the local authority and led to a high-profile court case.

The author, Rosie MacGregor, was local branch secretary of the National Association of Local Government Officers when the scandal broke.

The improbable title of her book, Wild West Wiltshire - Outlaws and Schemers, may seem far-fetched but accurately describes the scandalous events that took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Gerald Garland, a former chief executive of WWDC, was allegedly complicit with a group of senior managers and councillors in selling off council assets.

Mr Garland paid £1 for the council’s IT department in a secret deal behind closed doors. The department was later valued at £8 million.

When Don Latham, his successor as chief executive, started asking questions about the legality of the deals, it led to his suspension.

Mrs MacGregor, now aged 70 and retired, said: “I was working as an architect’s assistant and was branch secretary for the NALGO trade union when the scandal broke.

“I was subjected to a lot of threats and bullying by some of the most senior councillors and the then chief executive.”

The subsequent scandal brought the council into disrepute and led to more than 200 staff staging a walk-out, as well as to questions in Parliament, a court case, and national press headlines.

Mrs MacGregor, who lives in Bradford on Avon, said: “This book is a first-hand memory by a participant in the drama as it unfolded.

“I am telling the story from my recollections, the memories of those involved, and from press reports at the time.

 “This unlikely story of goings-on in a quiet rural local authority in Wiltshire brought the council into disrepute and had a lasting impact on those involved.

It made national headlines at the time yet today the story is almost forgotten.

“It is a story of secrecy, lack of accountability and alleged fraud and deception surrounding the transfer of council-owned assets to private companies, most notably the apparent sale of a lucrative council information technology department for ‘a peppercorn’ sum.”

Copies of the book, which is published by White Horse (Wiltshire) Trades Union Council, can be purchased locally from Ex Libris, The Shambles, Bradford on Avon, at £7.50 each.

Copies at £10, including postage and packing, can also be ordered from WaterMarx Media in Devizes at www.watermarx.co.uk.