Chorley man guilty of benefit fraud

A Chorley man has pleaded guilty to falsely obtaining more than £5,000 in benefits.

Ian Coles, 45, of Mendip Road, Clayton-le-Woods, claimed Job Seekers Allowance on the basis that he was unemployed.

He also received Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit from Chorley Council.

Chorley magistrates heard that Coles had claimed benefits from February 2009 when he became unemployed.

However in May 2009 he got a job but continued to claim benefits.

When interviewed by officers from the Department for Work and Pensions and Chorley Council, he initially denied doing any work but then admitted he had worked for three employers over a 10 month period.

Coun Kevin Joyce who is responsible for Council Tax at Chorley Council said: "This was a blatant fraud. Mr Coles continued to 'sign on' at the Job Centre whilst he was working, spurning any opportunity to report the change in his circumstances.

"Benefit fraud is unacceptable and I would urge anyone who has information about someone committing benefit fraud to contact the National Fraud Hotline on 0800 328 6340."

Coles was given credit for an early plea at an earlier hearing and was sentenced to a 12 month Community Punishment Order and ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of 100.

Steps are being taken to recover the overpayment in full.

* christopher.maguire@lep.co.uk