Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Walberswick: Villagers’ shame at benefit cheat tag

12:55 13 March 2014

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court

Archant

A Walberswick couple were overpaid more than £20,000 benefits after failing to tell officials they were working for a local car park company, a court has heard.

John Harris, 68, was employed as operations manager for Walberswick Car Parks Ltd and dishonestly obtained £16,975 in pension credits by failing to disclose he and his wife were in employment, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

When he was questioned about the overpayment he admitted working for the car park company for six months a year. When asked why he had not told the relevant authority about it he said: “I didn’t think of it, to be perfectly honest.” He also said he ticked the wrong box on a claim form.

His wife Sylvia, 71, was overpaid £8,000 in council tax benefit after failing to tell Suffolk Coastal District Council that the couple’s household had increased.

John Harris, of Church Field, Walberswick, admitted making a dishonest representation to obtain benefit and was given a 13-week electronically-monitored curfew between 8pm-6am.

His wife, of the same address, admitted failing to notify a change in circumstances that would affect her entitlement to council tax benefit and was given a conditional discharge for 12 months.

Sentencing the couple, Assistant Judge Advocate General, Judge Emma Peters, said she accepted the couple had suffered great shame as a result of the offences by being labelled “benefit cheats”.

She said Sylvia Harris’s initial claim for council tax benefit had been genuine and it was accepted she had not acted dishonestly in failing to notify a change in circumstances.

Sentencing John Harris, Judge Peters said the charge was more serious but due to his previous good character and the circumstances of the case the custody threshold was not crossed.

Jonathan Goodman, for the couple, said they were both of previous good character and had lost their good names. He said they lived in a small village and were now known for being benefit cheats. “That’s not a nice tag,” he said.

He said Sylvia Harris had written out a cheque for the money she was overpaid and her husband intended doing the same after being told before yesterday’s hearing exactly how much he owed.

He said Sylvia Harris’s claim was genuine at the outset and she had not been asked to fill in another form during the next four years.

Mr Goodman said John Harris had initially applied for benefits perfectly properly. After being approached to run the car park he had written a letter to the local council in relation to council tax and housing benefit payments. However he had not notified a separate department which dealt with pension credits.

1 comment

Police are appealing for help to trace Amelia Cook, who went missing from an address in Leiston

Police have launched a search for a missing Suffolk schoolgirl.

Police were called to the former A12 at Copdock.

Police were called after a car left the former A12 road at the bottom of Copdock Hill on Saturday morning.

Robert Kemp, 75, was walking along Melford Road in Newmarket when he collapsed. A lot of people, including bus drivers, stopped to help. But it was a young woman, named Jess Smith, who gave him CPR for 15 minutes before paramedics arrived. Robert pictured with friends and family.

A 75-year-old man from Stowmarket who was brought back to life after suffering a heart attack believes if he had collapsed anywhere else he may not be alive today.

A winning lottery ticket was bought in Colchester but the prize is yet to be claimed

The search is on for a mystery lottery ticket holder sitting on an unclaimed fortune somewhere in Colchester.

Jeremy Fournel at The Amber Shop in Southwold

Police are today hunting a pair of thieves who netted thousands of pounds worth of gems in a snatch-and-grab raid on a Suffolk jewellers.

Christchurch Land and Estates' proposed development of 560 homes, community centre, extra care/assisted living facility, play areas, village green, shops and employment centre off Gulpher Road,. Felixstowe.

A community leader has made an impassioned plea for a precious area of countryside where 560 homes could be built to be saved from the developers’ bulldozers.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 6: David Beckham during filming for an advert for the London 2012 Olympic bid on October 6, 2004 at the Love Is In The Air coffee shop in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Daryl Goodrich to talk about his life in film making at University of Suffolk

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24