Padiham benefits cheat had £170,000 in bank

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A benefits cheat Padiham pensioner received almost £19,000 while he had more than £170,000 in the bank, a court was told.

Burnley magistrates heard that David Harry Hardacre (66) claimed for nearly four years, but his claim was fraudulent from the start because he said his savings were just under £7,000.

Hardacre had been employment since leaving school and had said he felt that the state had not supported him when he needed it.

A number of doctors signed him off sick, but the Department for Work and Pensions deemed him fit for work.

His solicitor Rachel Cleary told the court he wants to pay the money back in one lump sum, but the DWP is insisting it is deducted from his state pension. and Because it also wants a proceeds of crime hearing, Hardacre, of Palmerston Street, Padiham, was committed to Burnley Crown Court for sentence in June.

He has no previous convictions.

He admitted dishonestly failing to disclose savings in excess of the prescribed limits when claiming council tax benefit from Burnley Borough Council and claiming pension credit from the DWP, both between November 30, 2009 and September 22, 2013, a total of £18,800.

Mrs Cleary said the proceedings had caused him significant stress.

He claimed for sickness benefit and had been signed off by a number of doctors but a medical assessment and the DWP deemed him fit for work.

She added: ”He felt some sense of anguish. He was a hard-working individual.

“He had managed to save up a large amount through modest living and he felt when he needed it, the state wasn’t there to support him.”

Mrs Cleary said what Hardacre had done was more “ an act of omission,” and that he had “ simply buried his head in the sand.”