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Benefits cheat given suspended jail sentence

A Hereford man who claimed £25,000 in benefits that he was not entitled to was today (March 6) sentenced to a four-month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months.

Martin Edward Alan Crump, 45, of 241 Grandstand Road, admitted four charges of dishonestly making a false claim with a view to obtaining benefit over a four-year period when he appeared at Hereford Magistrates Court on Tuesday, February 28.

He was also ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and to pay £700 in costs as well as having an 18-month supervision order that requires him to attend the Probation Office on a regular basis.

The case had been adjourned until March 6 for sentencing so a full pre-sentence report could be obtained.

Mrs Sam Evans, prosecuting for Herefordshire Council and the Department for Works and Pensions, told the court that the overpayment consisted of £3,000 in council tax benefits, £11,000 in housing benefits, £8,500 in income support and £2,000 in jobseekers allowance.

He had claimed he was a widower and living alone with his two daughters but in fact was married and had not told the relevant authorities.

Mrs Evans said:”He fraudulently and knowingly set out to defraud the public purse.”

Neil Coulson, defending, said his client was dyslexic and had trouble filling out forms and while he was married, the relationship was a stormy one and she was in and out of the family home.

The chairman of the bench told Crump these offences were being taken very seriously and he was close to being given an immediate custodial sentence.