‘Bad back’ Burnley benefits cheat was paid £9,400


A £9,400 benefits cheat claimed he had a bad back and could not work, but was self-employed – a court was told.

Kenneth Hamilton (43) carried out the fraud over two years and five months, which was a false claim from the outset. Hamilton, a cleaner and handyman, was now supposed to be repaying the money, a direct debit had been set up, but it had failed after the first payment of £35, Burnley Magistrates’ Court heard.

Hamilton, of Wren Street, Burnley, was spared an immediate prison sentence after admitting falsely making a statement to obtain a benefit on October 19th, 2009, by stating he was not capable of work and not earning, when in fact he was self-employed.

He also owned up to failing to promptly notify a change in circumstances, relating to Jobseekers’ Allowance.

Alex Mann (prosecuting for the Department of Work and Pensions) said Hamilton said he was unfit to work due to an operation on his back. Hamilton failed to tell the department he was working and received £9,429 he was not entitled to.

Jeremy Frain (for Hamilton) said Hamilton had been extremely worried about appearing in court and appreciated he could received a custodial sentence.

Mr Frain said: “He is most apologetic. He has been in trouble for dissimilar matters 15 years ago. I suspect he is not likely to be coming back before the court.”

District Judge Peter Ward imposed eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours of unpaid work. The defendant must pay £85 costs.