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Ex officer guilty of benefit fraud

PUBLISHED: 07:27 23 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:24 03 March 2010

HE believes "when you find the job you love, you will never work again".

But fraud investigators threw the book at an East Anglian writer when they found he had been working while claiming the dole.

Page 17 lead with pic . . . .HE believes "when you find the job you love, you will never work again".

But fraud investigators threw the book at an East Anglian writer when they found he had been working while claiming the dole.

Former police sergeant Trevor Lockwood used the Chinese provide to describe his life on a website he created for writers and publishers.

But yesterday he was convicted of two charges of making false representations as he had earned cash as a house-sitter, while claiming £52 a week for job seeker's allowance.

Magistrates sitting in Ipswich told the research fellow at the University of Sussex that he could face jail when he is sentenced on March 15.

The court heard Lockwood, 58, who denied the charges, and had served 15 years with the Metropolitan Police, had been "formally dismissed" from his job as a control room operator with Suffolk Constabulary in 2000 after a spell of ill-health.

He then "reluctantly" claimed job seekers' allowance so he could qualify for a £9,000 loan, as part of scheme for people over the age of 50, to boost his website business.

Saqib Rauf, prosecuting, said Lockwood, of Gainsborough Road, Felixstowe, had worked as a house-sitter three times between September and October 2000, which he had not declared.

Lockwood, who also worked for Essex Police, said he did not view the house-sitting – which he had done previously for an agency – as working.

The grandfather explained he saw his house-sitting in Nayland near Sudbury, as therapeutic.

He said: "It was a bit of break, a holiday. I was contented when I was paid, but there had been no discussions about payment. I didn't think what I was doing was working, just sitting in somebody else's house."

Stephen Broadhurst, mitigating, said Lockwood had asked for advice at the JobCentre and had not intended to commit fraud, adding: "He didn't have the relevant knowledge to constitute the offences he is charged with."

But the magistrates found him guilty and chairman of the bench John Horton said he was keeping "all options open" on sentence.

Speaking afterwards, Lockwood said his belief in justice was "lost".

He added: "I still do not feel I have done anything wrong. I was promised a system that would help me start my own business, but instead of that I feel I have been persecuted for 18 months. I'm going to write a book about this."

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