Man found guilty of benefit fraud after claiming thousands

A MAN has been jailed for claiming thousands of pounds in housing benefit which he wasn’t entitled to.

Nicholas Deacon was claiming housing benefit from both Wealden District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council and failed to tell benefit officers that one of the properties was owned by his mother and stepfather.

Deacon, 50, claimed not to have fully read the questions on his housing benefit application form.

But he was found guilty after a trial before Eastbourne magistrates of two offences of benefit fraud.

An investigation by Wealden District Council found that the Winchester Way property in Willingdon, for which Deacon had been claiming housing benefit, was jointly owned by his mother and stepfather.

It also revealed that between February 2007 and November 2009, he was claiming housing benefit for a property in Eastbourne, while also claiming housing benefit from Wealden District Council.

Between 2006 and 2009, Deacon received £8,539 in housing benefit from Wealden District Council which he was not entitled to because of his relationship with his landlord.

The money is now being paid back.

Deacon, of Pinders Road, Hastings, was jailed for 16 weeks when he appeared in court last month.

After the sentencing Wealden District Council’s cabinet member for Commissioning and Assets said, “Housing benefits are an important way of helping people on low incomes and are particularly valuable in places like Wealden where house prices are so high. So it is important that everyone plays by the rules. Our benefits team will be pleased to explain how the rules apply if applicants are unsure.

“But those people who think the rules are for other people, but not them, will be found out. We take a dim view of benefits cheats in Wealden.”

Wealden District Council was helped in its investigation by the Department of Works and Pensions.