Benefits thief cheats jail over £60k theft

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A disgraced pensioner who swindled the public purse out of nearly £60,000 over a 15 year period has been given a suspended jail term.

Harold Barker, of Ascot Road, Layton, in Blackpool, pleaded guilty to 10 offences of benefit fraud, all involving cheating the Department of Work and Pensions out of Pension Credit and Income Support.

Judge Andrew Woolman

Judge Andrew Woolman

Judge Andrew Woolman, sentencing at Preston Crown Court, said the 78-year-old was reaching his “twilight years” and acknowledged he was in poor health.

He imposed a 12 month jail term but suspended it for two years.

The court was told the charges dated back to 1998 – the year Barker first qualified for his old age pension.

Prosecuting, Rachel Woods said that Barker made a series of false declarations in a series of official forms and phone calls to the DWP.

Throughout the deception he did not disclose the fact his wife was working, affecting his claim.

Defending, Daniel Harman, said his client was in poor health.

The court heard a sum of just under £60,000 was involved in the overpayments.

Barker was not ordered to pay the usual court charges or surcharges.