Former Ipswich man, 80, convicted of falsely claiming £16,000 in benefits while working

Man falsely claimed benefits

Man falsely claimed benefits - Credit: Archant

An 80-year-old former Ipswich man has been given a conditional discharge after being convicted of falsely claiming benefits totalling around £16,000.

Edward Ashbury, who lived in Thistle Close, Ipswich, at the time of the offences, but now lives in Cromwell Road, Ringsfield, near Beccles, had denied three offences.

However he was convicted after a trial at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court.

Ashbury was charged with dishonesty failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions between December 15, 2008, and March 30, 2014, in relation to his claim for pension credit.

He was also charged with dishonestly making a false statement to Ipswich Borough Council on or about March 23, 2011, for housing and council tax benefit.

The third charge also involved the council. Between April 5, 2010 and March 23, 2014, Ashbury dishonestly failed to notify the council of a change in circumstances which would have affected his benefits.

The overpayment in pension credit was said to total £9,636.08, while the amount of housing benefit claimed incorrectly was £5,306.15.

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There was also an overpayment of £866.38 in council tax.

Prosecutor Lucy Miller said Ashbury had been working for a contract cleaning company between November 27, 2008, and March 19, 2014.

He had stated he did not realise he had to declare his income if he was working for less than 10 hours a week.

Mrs Miller said Ashbury was fully aware of the information that needed to be given when making his claims and if there were any changes.

Ashbury had made claims for income support and pension credit in 1990.

He had to return an overpayment to the DWP in 2007 after he was found to be working for another cleaning company.

Magistrates heard at that time he had been under the mistaken impression at the time that he was not obliged to make a declaration of employment if he worked for less than 16 hours a week.

Ashbury – who has been repaying the money he owes over the past 15 months - was given a 24-month conditional discharge and must pay £20 to the victims’ fund. Ashbury’s wife, Doreen, 69, was acquitted of one offence of making a dishonestly making a false statement.