Lowestoft shoplifter ends up with �157,000 bill

A benefits cheat who was caught out when he was arrested for shoplifting in Lowestoft has been ordered to pay back �157,495.

Anthony Jarrard appeared at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday for a proceeds of crime hearing.

In June 2009 Jarrard, 50, was arrested in connection with a theft at the Halfords store in the town.

When he was searched police found a bank card in a different name and Jarrard initially claimed he had found it in the town centre.

However under questioning he admitted the card actually belonged to him and told officers that he had opened the account in another name to avoid paying Poll Tax.

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It was quickly established that there was over �150,000 in the account and that Jarrard, of Clockhouse Way in Braintree, Essex, was registered as unemployed and claiming a number of state benefits including incapacity benefit and housing benefit.

Enquiries got underway and Suffolk Police's Financial Investigation Unit began looking into his circumstances.

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Police made contact with the Department for Work and Pensions and Braintree District Council and discovered benefits had been paid in various forms dating back to 1995.

As the investigation continued, officers from Suffolk Police and the DWP found out Jarrard had been playing with a band - and was being also being paid to work in a music shop.

He was subsequently charged in June 2011 and in November last year was sentenced to 12 months for three counts of failing to notify a change of circumstances relating to housing benefits, Job Seekers Allowance and incapacity benefit.

Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings followed with Jarrard being ordered to pay �157,495.77 at yesterday's hearing after the court decided that the money was the proceeds of a criminal lifestyle.

Of this total �30,308.97 will go as compensation to DWP and �4507.14 to Braintree District Council - and the sum must be paid within two months or he will face a further three-year term of imprisonment.

Suffolk Police Financial investigator Rachel Jarvis said; 'The Financial Investigation Unit in Suffolk strives to ensure that those who commit crime and benefit financially will be forced to pay back the profits they have made from their activities.

'This case in particular demonstrates that by applying the Proceeds of Crime Act legislation, we can ensure that criminals do not prosper from acting dishonestly and will be brought to justice.'

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