The Lib Dem Mayor of Watford canvassed support at her own front door in two staged election leaflets.
The photographs were taken from inside Mayor Dorothy Thornhill’s own home and showed her talking to an unknown “constituent” standing on her own doorstep.
The leaflets showed almost identical shots of Mayor Thornhill were posted to homes in two wards some considerable distance away from her home.
They were delivered in the North Watford and Nascot and Park wards and accompanied by either Ian Stotesbury or Mark Watkin – the Lib Dem county council candidates for those two areas.
Mayor Thornhill plans to stand down from her role as mayor next year.
Mike Jackson, chairman of the Watford Labour Party, said: “We thought there was something a bit fishy going on and it turns out it stinks.
“The Liberal Democrats have been caught red-handed dishing out fake leaflets and trying to dupe the electorate into believing their candidates are somehow in touch and engaging with real voters.
“The fact that they have used Mayor Dorothy Thornhill’s own house for this dishonest set-up makes matters even worse.”
Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Liberal Democrat group leader and Watford campaign manager, dismissed accusations of duplicity.
He said: “It is a picture of the candidate on a doorstep with Dorothy and it is irrelevant where it is.
“It is a pity and disappointing that the only thing the others can think about is criticising one quality photograph on a leaflet of our candidate with Dorothy.
“It seem the other parties, and I assume Labour here as this is just typical of them having lost last year, have nothing new to offer and no vision for a better Watford and Hertfordshire.”
All 78 Hertfordshire County Council seats will be contested at the election on May 4.