AN ELDERLY man was handed a suspended prison sentence after fraudulently claiming more than £16,000 of benefits.
John Bailey, aged 71 and of Fearnings Cottages in Crabbs Cross, plead guilty to claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit totalling £16,786.31 between January 2005 and November 2013 by failing to declare occupational pensions.
Bailey was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £85 and an £80 victim surcharge at Redditch Magistrates’ Court on Monday (December 1).
The investigation began after a National Fraud Initiative data scheme which matches information from local authorities and other public bodies to detect fraud.
Magistrates said they regarded the offence as ‘very serious’ as it involved large sums over a long time with several reviews where Bailey failed to declare his circumstances.
To report suspected benefit fraud, visit www.redditchbc.gov.uk/benefits or call 01527 534011.