Shefford benefit cheat sentenced

A FRAUDSTER who claimed benefits despite starting work as a cleaner has been given a 12-month conditional discharge.

Bedford Magistrates’ Court heard how Ryan Howlett, of Pinemead in Shefford, knowingly failed to tell Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) and the Department for Work and Pensions that he had returned to work.

As a result he was overpaid �2300 in Job Seekers’ Allowance, �137 in housing benefit and �56 in council tax benefit.

Howlett, 24, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay �50 costs. He must also repay the falsely claimed money.

Cllr Richard Wenham, CBC’s deputy executive member for corporate resources, said: “Benefit cheats take money away from those people who really need it.

“This clearly shows that Central Bedfordshire Council will not tolerate abuse of the benefits system and will take appropriate action against those who do try to make a fraudulent claim.”

The council’s confidential fraud hotline - 0300 3005557 - is open 24 hours a day, for anyone who suspects someone might be claiming benefits fradulently.

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