THE UK Independence Party has lost several would-be election candidates across Worcestershire amid chaotic scenes in the county.

One candidate filled in the forms incorrectly and is listed as an independent, a fellow contender fell ill and dropped out, while another two failed to get their forms in on time after a UKIP organiser vanished without trace.

Despite UKIP leader Nigel Farage boasting that 50 candidates would be on the ballot sheets during a trip to Worcester last week, the end figure is 42.

Your Worcester News can reveal Jim Holtom, who is standing in the St John’s seat in Worcester, left the section of his sheet blank where it asked him to write his party down.

Under rules laid down by the Electoral Commission it cannot now be altered, so he is listed publicly with no political affiliation.

The error is a huge boost for Labour, as the seat is currently held by Councillor Richard Udall, who is responsible for drawing up a lot of the group’s policy.

Elsewhere, plans had been drawn up for UKIP to field another two people in seats around Droitwich, but it fell apart after an activist disappeared without trace.

Under the rules, each candidate must get 10 people to sign nomination forms, and an unnamed party member took both forms on the understanding they had to be with County Hall by midday last Friday.

Despite calls from senior UKIP organisers, which got increasingly desperate on the day, he could not be found.

UKIP was also preparing to stand one other candidate in the Evesham area, but it collapsed after illness took hold last week.

In a desperate attempt to rectify the situation, bosses alerted two reserve candidates that they had time to get forms in last Friday, but they ran out of time.

Carl Humphries, UKIP secretary for Worcester and Mid-Worcestershire, said: “Jim didn’t fill out the little box that said ‘what are you standing as’, it’s so frustrating but he will still be campaigning as a UKIP candidate, despite what it says on the ballot sheet.

“We also had a guy who was supposed to take nomination forms in for two candidates, but didn’t do it and he could not be found.

“We got two ‘reserve’ candidates involved last Friday but it was 11.25am and in the end I called it off, I didn’t want someone to break a leg in a car accident.

“It’s very disappointing but we are still going to give it a go.”

All 57 seats at Worcestershire County Council are up for grabs on Thursday, May 2.

* Monday's Worcester News will feature three pages of insight and analysis on the count, including Worcestershire's key battlegrounds.