Man admits benefit crimes

A SCARBOROUGH man has admitted to unlawfully claiming more than £13,000 in benefits.

Melvyn Langham, 51, of Southgate in Crossgates, pleaded guilty to eight charges at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that Langham, who had no previous convictions, committed the offences between March 2006 and January 2009.

He failed to inform authorities on seven occasions that his wife was receiving an income.

He did not tell Scarborough Borough Council that he had changed his address on one occasion.

In total he claimed £6,073 in income support, £6,012 in housing benefit and £1,543 in council tax benefit.

Toby Coupe, prosecuting, said that Mr Langham’s wife had been earning between £300 and £1,500 per month working for North Yorkshire County Council.

However he accepted that Langham had not deliberately misled authorities.

Shaun Greenan, mitigating, said that Langham had not been aware that his wife was earning an income and that the family did not see any of her wages.

“This isn’t a straightforward case. At the time he made the benefit claim his wife was a student doing her NVQs,” Mr Greenan said.

“His wife did not give him information that her placement had turned into part-time employment. He accepts that had his health been better he should have asked further questions. He was taking on trust the information he was given.”

Mr Greenan explained that Langham, a taxi driver for almost 30 years, had suffered a heart attack which prevented him from working for a significant period.

The money his wife made went towards paying for medical care for her parents, who were also suffering ill health.

“The relationship was going through a difficult period,” Mr Greenan added.

“None of the money his wife made was used for the family finances.”

Langham has now returned to work and has come to a voluntary agreement to pay back the money.

Sentencing Langham, Ian Norman, the chairman of the bench, said that magistrates had decided against a custodial sentence.

Langham was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £85 in costs.