Sprowston man jailed for benefits fraud

A man who fraudulently claimed more than �66,000 in benefits has been jailed.

Roger Walker, 61, from Wilks Farm Drive, off Barkers Lane, Sprowston, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday having previously pleaded guilty to 14 counts of benefit fraud.

David Hewitt, prosecuting, said the fraud related to Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and housing and council tax benefit, which was claimed as a result of him failing to give notice of circumstances, namely that he was married and he and his wife worked, took place between 1999 and 2009.

He said: 'The defendant claimed for and was in receipt of JSA together with housing and council tax benefit and, having made the claims, failed to disclose that he received a lump sum pension together with a monthly pension thereafter and failed to disclose material facts that he was married, and worked and that his wife worked.'

Mr Hewitt said Walker, who worked in a number of jobs from 2002, including as a delivery driver for Evening News publisher Archant, had dishonestly claimed a total of �66,200 by way of JSA and housing and council tax benefit.

He added Hewitt, who was arrested in April last year, has so far repaid a total of �120.

Michael Clare, mitigating, said he was a man of previous 'good character' and asked for discount for that. He said: 'The defendant knows the likely outcome is immediate custody and has been doing his best to steel himself or that. He's not in the best of health.'

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Mr Clare, who revealed his Ukranian wife had married him to achieve citizenship of the UK and had since 'decamped', added: 'He hasn't come bleating to me saying I can't go to prison because I have this. It's not that sort of thing. He's here and he's steeling himself to face the music.'

Walker was jailed for eight months and will serve half of his sentence.