A SCARBOROUGH benefits cheat was told by a judge: “A country in the kind of debt we are in cannot afford giving benefits to people not entitled to them”.
For several years Neil Walker, 51, claimed a total of £10,000 worth of job seeker allowance, despite being in receipt of an occupational pension and the fact that his wife was working.
Walker, of Hatter Board Drive, appeared before York Crown Court for sentencing, having previously pleaded guilty to two charges of making false statements to obtain benefits and one of failing to notify a change in circumstances.
Despite receiving a pension from the West Midlands Fire Service of up to £180 per month from October 1997, and that for part of the time his wife was earning up to £200 per week, from 2006 onwards Walker continued to claim the benefit.
Adam Birkby, prosecuting on behalf of the department of Work and Pensions, told the court that Walker had been repaying the money back of £10.20 per week from his legitimate benefits since matters came to light last year.
Eleanor Fryer, mitigating, said that Walker wished her to say on his behalf that he wished to “express his very deep remorse and absolute shame”.
Placing Walker under a 12 month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work, Recorder Amanda Rippon said the country could not afford false benefit claims, adding: “There are many people managing on far less than you are on.”