A TV actor ended up in court after using his stage name to fiddle the benefits system to the tune of £14,000.
Mark Ridyard, 49, used his stage name of Christian Storm to open bank accounts and even got a Government grant to set up a new Internet business using the name.
But all the time Ridyard was cheating the system claiming Income Support, two forms of Jobseekers Allowance, council tax benefit and housing benefit.
As Storm he has played numerous roles on BBC, ITV and Channel Four, appearing in dramas such as Appropriate Adult,The Exile, soaps like Coronation Street and Waterloo Road and as a contestant on dating show Take Me Out.
Now Ridyard, of Ashfield Road,Bispham, will have to do 150 hours unpaid work for the community.
He will also be the subject of a three-month curfew and was ordered to pay £250 costs imposed by the town’s magistrates after he admitted five offences of failing to notify a change of his circumstances to Blackpool Council and the Department of Work and Pensions.
Lynda Bennett, prosecuting, said the actor had been overpaid £14,151 over a two year period.
During that time he claimed as Mark Ridyard but worked as Christian Storm.
He kept his bank accounts in the name of Storm – used for his acting work and money earned from an E-Bay Paypal account –secret from officials.
Ms Bennett said: “He had even helped set himself up in an online photograph business with a grant from Government funded project called INBIZ.”
The prosecutor said he had started to pay money back and had repaid the council £35 at £5 a week but stopped in July.”
Leisa Splaine, defending, said: “He knows he was wrong not to say he was trying to generate extra income through his online business and acting work.
“I am told that it is not unusual for someone who acts to use a different name.
“He is all over the websites under this name.
“Because of this prosecution the acting work has stopped and he is now working as a packer.”