Man sentenced after £8k claim

Scarborough Magistrates Court
Scarborough Magistrates Court

A SCARBOROUGH man has admitted to cheating the taxpayer out of almost £8,500 in benefits to which he should not have been entitled.

David Stretch, 51, of Newborough, pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to inform the authorities of a change in his circumstances.

Scarborough Magistrates Court heard that Stretch did not inform the Department for Work and Pensions that his partner, who he shared a home with, was working.

Ian Cocker, prosecuting, said that Stretch claimed a total of £8,416.52 in Jobseekers’ Allowance to which he should not have been entitled between August 2007 and November 2009.

Mr Cocker said that Stretch’s partner had began working in a laundry, where she earned between £121 and £260 per week.

Franklyn Garvey, mitigating, said that his client had wanted to notify the authorities after his partner’s circumstances changed, but she had talked him out of it.

“She got a temporary job which she then got on a permanent basis,” Mr Garvey said. “She said there is no need to notify anyone because they were making a joint claim.

“In a weak moment he agreed and matters were left as they were.”

Mr Garvey added that Stretch’s partner then left him in an “overnight flit”.

“She decided to go off with a third party in 2009,” he said. “He contacted the job centre and in the course of the new claim it all came out that he had been making a fraudulent claim.

“He knows he should have done something about it but he buried his head in the sand like so many others.”

The court heard that Stretch is currently repaying the benefits at a rate of £10 per fortnight.

The Department for Work and Pensions did not make a formal claim for compensation, but will pursue the repayment through other means.

Stretch was handed a community order by magistrates and ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

He was also told to pay £80 in costs.