A Birmingham man voted using the identities of two other people in order to help his cousin win a local election, a court heard yesterday.

Conservative candidate Altaf Adalat won the Coventry ward by just six votes against his Labour opponent, following the fraud, in May 2006, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

Iftikhar Hussain, 31, of Green Lane, Small Heath, has denied two charges of personation in the names of Abdul Khaliq and Mukhtar Hussain.

Jonathan Dunne, prosecuting, said local elections in most of England and Wales took place on May 4 2006.

''This case concerns the election for one of the wards in Coventry City Council, in particular the Foleshill ward, whose Conservative Party candidate won by six votes from the Labour Party candidate.

''The Conservative Party candidate was the defendant's first cousin.''

Mr Dunne said that on two occasions Hussain had gone to separate polling stations and presented himself as someone else and marked his vote for the Conservative candidate.

The court was told there were four candidates and Mr Adalat was elected as a councillor after receiving 1,847 votes, his Labour opponent getting 1,841.

Mr Dunne said there was no dispute that the deception had taken place and both the people whose names were used were not present in the UK at the time. "The question is whether it is the defendant who has cast these votes.''

He said the principle evidence against Hussain was that his fingerprints were found on both ballot papers.

Following an investigation, Hussain was arrested and questioned and claimed he had attended the count in Coventry to support his family.

Hussain said on two occasions when he was there voting papers had started to spill out over a table and that he had pushed them back from the edge. Mr Dunne said there was rigorous security at the count and no independent evidence that Hussain had been there.

The trial continues.