Benefits cheat DJ faces the music

Robert Brightman claimed he was too ill to work despite having a job as a DJ at the Manchester pub in Blackpool.
Robert Brightman claimed he was too ill to work despite having a job as a DJ at the Manchester pub in Blackpool.
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A benefits cheat claimed he was too ill to work but spun records at a pub.

Robert Brightman, who illegally claimed almost £19,000, has now been forced to face the music before a judge.

He had said he was too ill to work but had a job as a disc jockey at one of the busiest pubs on Blackpool’s Golden Mile.

Brightman, 57, of Bryan Road, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to four offences of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances.

He was sentenced to do 240 hours unpaid work for the community, put on 12 months supervision and ordered to pay £85 costs plus £60 victim’s surcharge by District Judge Huw Edwards sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.

The judge told Brightman: “ These offences were serious, sustained over a considerable period of time and you received a large amount of money to which you were not entitled.”

Alison Quanbrough, prosecuting, said Brightman had claimed benefits saying he was sick, unable to work and had no other income.

In April this year he attended a medical and told a doctor he had not worked for 22 years. But Brightman had been working as a disc jockey at the Manchester pub on the Promenade.

Between February 2012 and March this year he illegally claimed £18,914 in employment support allowance, income support, housing and council tax benefits.

When interviewed by benefit fraud investigators Brightman said he had been “living in a bubble” since his wife left and he was in serious debt.

Michael Woosnam, defending, said his client, who had no previous convictions, did not claim benefits at present and was paying back what he owed.

Brightman had hoped for more work this month but said he got only a single night and added if things carried on like that he may have to go back on benefits.

The defence handed the judge a note from Brightman’s doctor, which it was said detailed the defendant’s health problems and his alcoholism from the past.