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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Barrow and Ulverston fraudsters claimed benefits while working

TWO fraudsters are facing hefty bills after continuing to claim benefits while working.

Yesterday, Furness Magistrates Court heard that Brian Timpson had claimed benefits while earning over £40,000 as an offshore contractor.

The 64-year-old, of Jefferson Drive in Ulverston, admitted three charges of failing to notify a change of his circumstances, which occurred between May 2011 and October of this year.

The court heard that he had wrongly claimed £16,764 in pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

Prosecuting, Miss Judith Knott said suspicion had arisen about Timpson’s claims when his CV was obtained by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Defending, Ms Karen Templeton said her client had fallen into debt after moving to Tenerife and then returned to the UK after being diagnosed with cancer.

On his return to the UK he began claiming benefits and continued to do so despite obtaining work in July 2011.

On one contract Timpson worked in the offshore oil and gas industry as a deck foreman between July and October 2011, earning £350 a day, a total of £17,850.

He also admitted he had earned £1,202 working in Sierra Leone and a further £21,113 working as a deck foreman between July and September of this year.

District judge Gerald Chalk issued Timpson a 12-month community order with 130 hours unpaid work.

He will also have to pay £85 costs and has been ordered to repay the money that he wrongly claimed.

Also appearing at Furness Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Colin Taylor of Thwaite Street in Barrow, admitted a charge of failing to notify a change of circumstances to the DWP.

The court heard that the 55-year-old had claimed more than £3,500 worth of housing benefit and council tax benefit between October last year and July 29 of this year, despite working at B&Q during this period.

Taylor, who spent 20 years in the armed forces, told the court that his wife had left him on Christmas Day 2006, leaving him to care for his daughter.

He said that he had accrued debts after losing his previous job and continued claiming benefit to help pay for the cost of his daughter studying at university.

He was fined £85, ordered to pay court costs of £100 and a £15 victim surcharge.

DWP regional fraud manager Vernon Sanderson said benefits fraudsters were stealing from the most vulnerable.

He said: “Benefits thieves take money that is entitled for the most vulnerable in our country.

“Quite rightly, the public get angry about such anti-social behaviour. With their support we are closing in on these thieves.

“Anyone who suspects anybody of suspected benefit fraud or theft can contact the national hotline on 0800 854 440.”

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