A MAN in his 70s stole nearly £15,000 in benefits after failing to declare he was still working.
Terence Valentine, 73, pleaded guilty to four counts of benefit fraud after claiming housing benefit and pension credits for six years while also working.
Mr Valentine is paying back the money back at £17 a week. It is no doubt going to take him a long time to pay it back but he intends to do so as quickly as possibleGed Frazer, defending
In total he was overpaid by £14,995.84 Wigan magistrates heard, which he is now paying back at a rate of £17 a week, meaning it will take him roughly 17 years to pay back - by which time he will be 90.
Valentine, of Westminster Drive, Leigh, began claiming the benefits in 2007 but in 2009 began working as a delivery driver for Blundell’s Pharmacy.
He left that job in 2014 but began working as a cleaner at Astley and Tyldesley Miners’ Welfare Institute but he did not inform the Department for Work and Pensions that he was in employment.
Katie Beattie, prosecuting, said: “Mr Valentine was claiming pension credits since May 2007 and April 2015.
“He was also claiming housing benefits from May 2007 until May 2014.
“It was up to Mr Valentine to inform the DWP of any change in circumstance but didn’t when he decided to start work as a delivery driver between 2009 and 2014 or when he began working as a cleaner.”
The court heard that Mr Valentine was the main carer for his wife Rita, who has a number of health problems and also has problems with his own health.
Ged Frazer, defending, said: “Mr Valentine has significant health problems, as does his wife. They look after each other.
“It would have a significant impact on them both if he was sent to custody.
“Mr Valentine is paying back the money back at £17 a week. It is no doubt going to take him a long time to pay it back but he intends to do so as quickly as possible.”
Valentine was given an 18-week custodial sentence for each of the four charges to run concurrently and this was suspended for two years.
He was also ordered to pay £85 in prosecution costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
The magistrates told him: “This is a serious offence. You defrauded the country out of nearly £15,000.”