Former baker’s £25k overclaim

Blackpool Magistrates Court
Blackpool Magistrates Court

A former supermarket baker overclaimed nearly £26,000 in benefits, a court heard.

Barry Jones, 64, of of Whinfield Avenue, Fleetwood, started to claim Income Support in 2007 and Pension Credit from 2012 – despite the fact his wife was receiving £300 a month.

More than £25,000 of public money has gone to you because you declined to tell the department the truth

Wearing a grey coat, white shirt and grey tie, he sat calmly in the dock at Preston Crown Court as Judge Christopher Cornwall was told he had made dishonest statements failing to mention his wife’s income from her first husband’s work insurance.

Jones admitted two counts of dishonestly making a false statement to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Judge Cornwall said: “The department is wholly dependent on claimants telling the truth. The forms make it absolutely apparent what you have to do.

“The consequence is you obtained Income Support for five years and Pension Credit for three years.

“More than £25,000 of public money has gone to you because you declined to tell the department the truth.”

Prosecuting, Wayne Jackson said Jones’ wife had received income from Friends Life since Jan 1986.

He added: “When the matter was investigated he was interviewed under caution and he confirmed, to be fair, he had been deceiving them.

“He admitted previously claiming income support.

“He actually thought that as it was her income that it didn’t matter but that’s not the position – it’s any income coming into the household.”

Defending, Paul Robinson said: “In the circumstances having regard to his lack of previous convictions, his age, and the fact he is caring for his wife who had a stroke in 1992 and is wholly dependent on him, could I invite you to suspend the period of imprisonment?”

Jones was given eight months’ prison suspended for 24 months.

A previous hearing was told Jones met his partner when they were both working in South Africa.

She had suffered the stroke when they returned to the UK.

A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing is expected to take place on May 2.