Claimed housing benefit while working

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A Deeping St Nicholas man continued to receive housing benefit even though he was working in an Oxford hotel, a court has been told.

Derek Gemmel-Brown (46), of Fallowfields, admitted receiving the benefit fraudulently when he appeared before magistrates at Skegness.

Prosecuting on behalf of South Holland District Council, Sally Burke said he had made the claim on-line in December 2012 and had subsequently signed the claim and had been advised he must notify the council of any change of circumstances.

She said it was later discovered that he had been working as a cluster manager at a hotel in Oxford between December 2012 and February 2013, earning more than £6,000.

She said he was written to on a number of occasions and also offered an interview with a view to paying a mitigated penalty, but he did not respond.

Mrs Burke said the amount paid to which he was not entitled was £789.

Mitigating, John Storer said Gemmel-Brown was of hitherto good character.

He said he had cancelled his Job Seekers Allowance and had thought this would cancel the housing benefit as well.

As the benefit was paid straight into his bank account he did not notice it and, believing it was all part of his salary, spent it.

Mr Storer said that since then Gemmel-Brown had just put his head in the sand and ignored requests to contact the council as he thought he would be sent to prison.

The magistrates fined Gemmel-Brown £250 and ordered him to repay the sum of £789, as well as a £25 victim surcharge and £250 in costs.