Plymouth benefit cheat carpenter forced to repay £2,000
A CARPENTER falsely claimed more than £2,000 in benefits by failing to declare he was working.
Reginald Lake was paid income support and housing benefit over three months, Plymouth magistrates heard yesterday.
The 59-year-old, of Beyrout Place, Devonport, admitted two counts of failing to declare a change of circumstances which would affect his benefit claims between June and September last year.
John Major, prosecuting for the Department for Work and Pensions, said Lake had claimed benefits from 2008 on the basis that he was unfit for work and had no other income.
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He said while making his claim and at regular intervals he was sent leaflets advising him to inform the department of any change, particularly if he found work.
But Mr Major added that investigators found he was working as a carpenter. He said he was also driving other employees to work.
Mr Major said the amount he falsely claimed was £2,109 and he was repaying that sum through his continued benefits.
Julian Jefferson, for Lake, said he had suffered a great deal of "trauma" including bereavement.
He added he had suffered mentally and had fallen into debt.
Mr Jefferson said Lake had gone to Plymouth Options, a counselling service, but had not found the strength to go through the door.
Magistrates gave him a six-month community order under probation supervision.