Harlech Community Council has responded to the public over a scam that saw them lose £9,000.

The scam saw the council’s clerk send money to a scammer who claimed he would carry out consulting work and needed payments in advance.

The meeting took place at the community council’s office at Harlech’s Old Library on Monday night. Members of the public submitted questions to the council before the meeting, and they prepared answers to each one.

The meeting opened with a member of the public saying they understood councillors were not informed about the scam until January, more than two weeks after the scam.

Reading the council’s response, council chair Edwina Evans said: “The clerk informed the chair and the vice chair as soon as it happened.” But then said: “I don’t quite agree with my part in that, the clerk contacted the bank, action fraud, and the council’s insurance company. As Christmas was coming, she let the council know at the January meeting.

“The clerk does not make decisions on her own for the council. I’m not disputing the clerk’s claim that she informed me of this in December, but she did so in my house when I had my family with me - the last thing I was thinking about then was the community council. I didn’t see anything about this officially until the council meeting on 12 January.”

Vice-chair Chris Braithwaite said the council had been in talks with companies over renovation work on a playground in the town. He added: “Lots of emails about prices and work had gone out in previous months, scammers may have read previous minutes and notes and had an understanding of what was going on in the community.”

When asked about the possibility of the money being refunded, clerk Annwen Hughes said: “There’s fingers crossed that the money will be refunded”, before adding: “This situation will make us all more vigilant, especially me.”

The council was asked if it would be signing up to scam training offered by Gwynedd council and the police. The chair said: “This is something we need to look into. It is clear the council needs to embrace modern technology and move with it.”