Ex-miner claimed £5,852 in illegal benefit payouts

Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A former miner illegally claimed £5,852.04 in benefits after he had received a lump-sum occupational pension payment.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on October 19 how Paul Sykes, 53, of Birchwood Crescent, Grangewood, Chesterfield, pleaded guilty to three benefit fraud offences.

These included allowing his partner to claim Employment Support Allowance while failing to inform the DWP of a change between March, 2014, and April, 2016, and making a false statement to the DWP for ESA for his partner in July, 2015.

He also admitted allowing his partner to fail to alert Chesterfield Borough Council of a change affecting housing benefit in March, 2014.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said Sykes and his partner had claimed benefits because she could not work for health reasons and he was her carer.

However, the court heard Sykes received a £17,174.60 lump-sum payment under the miners’ pension scheme and if it had been declared the same benefit payments would have ceased but he received a £5,852.04 over-payment.

Sykes admitted receiving a pension but he had taken a lump-sum payment to sort out gambling debts and he withheld information, did not tell his partner and allowed her to continue to claim benefits.

Defence solicitor Simon Greaves said Sykes got himself into financial difficulties and tried to hide it from his partner and he took the lump-sum pension to sort out his debts.

Magistrates sentenced Sykes to a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

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