Midhurst benefit cheat on curfew

A MAN from Midhurst has been found guilty of benefit fraud, receiving more than £7,000 in benefits despite having a second job.

Gary Coleman, 49, of June Lane, admitted two charges of failing to notify the council he had an additional job and was in receipt of more earnings when he appeared before Worthing Magistrates on January 28.

He was sentenced to a six week curfew order and ordered to pay £85 towards costs.

The case was brought by Chichester District Council following an investigation that discovered that Mr Coleman was working approximately 25 hours per week in a local pub.

The offence came to light following anonymous information and the council found evidence to support the allegation.

As a result, he was overpaid £6,217.09 in housing benefit and £973.39 in council tax benefit between September 2011 and April 2013.

Chichester District Council will seek to recover all the overpaid benefit.

Councillor Tony Dignum, cabinet member for finance at Chichester District Council, said: “The vast majority of benefit claimants are honest. “However, there are a few people determined to cheat the system.

“That’s why we always take action when we can prove that claimants have deliberately broken the law.

“This conviction shows there’s no hiding place for benefit cheats who rip off our honest taxpayers.”

If you suspect anyone of committing benefit fraud you can contact the council’s investigation team on a confidential 24 hour fraud hotline.