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14 Mar 2014

£11k benefit thief fined a pathetic £500

A man who fraudulently claimed more than £11,000 in benefits has been fined by magistrates.

David Gourlay, 53, from Appledore, admitted to claiming the additional council tax and housing benefits after he failed to declare his savings to the council. He pleaded guilty to two charges of making false representations, which date back to 2009, at North Devon Magistrates’ Court.

Gourlay, who has agreed to repay the excess benefits, was ordered to pay a £500 fine, as well as costs of £647 and a victim surcharge of £50.

Philip Collins, leader of Torridge District Council, said the prosecution was the latest in a crackdown on benefit fraud:
Six prosecutions in as many months gives neither me nor Torridge any pleasure, but we have a duty to protect the public purse and to prosecute people who fraudulently claim benefits. It’s never worth trying to get away with it - our team will catch you and you will have to repay what you falsely claimed.
He should have to pay back twice what he stole - otherwise what deterrent is there?

Councillor Collins can't be pleased that their "crackdown" is attracting such leniency.

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