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Prison sentence for benefit cheat

PUBLISHED: 10:40 14 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:47 05 July 2010

A benefit cheat has been jailed for a year after dishonestly claiming benefits of nearly £35,000.

Although Edward Chappell, 57, initially claimed income support, carer's allowance and council tax benefit legitimately, his claims became fraudulent when he got a job as a driver and failed to notify the benefit agencies, a court heard.

A benefit cheat has been jailed for a year after dishonestly claiming benefits of nearly £35,000.

Although Edward Chappell, 57, initially claimed income support, carer's allowance and council tax benefit legitimately, his claims became fraudulent when he got a job as a driver and failed to notify the benefit agencies, a court heard.

Adam Rooke, prosecuting, said that over a period of more than three years, Chappell had dishonestly claimed £21,000 income support, £11,000 carers' allowance and £2,000 council tax benefit.

Chappell, of Windsor Terrace, Kessingland, near Lowestoft, admitted dishonestly claiming benefit and was jailed for 12 months.

Sentencing him at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday, Judge John Holt said that while dishonestly claiming benefit of £34,834, Chappell had earned a weekly net wage of £360 - well above the benefit threshold.

Judge Holt accepted that Chappell had resorted to dishonestly claiming benefit to pay off debts rather than to finance a wealthy lifestyle.

Azza Brown, for Chappell, said Chappell and his wife had both been in debt and he had committed the offences out of “necessity and desperation”.

Chappell's wife had been diagnosed with cancer several years ago and he had been caring for her, she added.

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