Community work and fine for Haywards Heath benefits cheat

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A benefits cheat has been convicted after claiming money from the council while he was working.

Jason Hanmer-Bennett, 27, of Chandlers Field Drive, Haywards Heath claimed Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit from Mid Sussex District Council on the basis that he was unemployed.

He started work in November 2012 but did not tell the council.

He was overpaid Housing Benefit of £7,932 from November 2012 to December 2013 and Council Tax Benefit of £422 from November 2012 to March 2013.

Hanmer-Bennett was charged with failing to notify the council that he was working.

He pleaded guilty to the offence on February 13 at Worthing Magistrates’ Court and was ordered to do 120 hours unpaid work in the community and pay a victim surcharge of £60.

The investigation and prosecution cost Mid Sussex District Council £1,215, which magistrates ordered Hanmer-Bennett to pay back. He is also required to pay back all the overpaid benefits.

Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Cabinet Member for Finance and Service Delivery said: “The council takes firm action against the small minority of benefit claimants who seek to cheat and be a drain on the wallets and purses of the law abiding residents of Mid Sussex.

“Members of the public can help us catch these cheats by reporting suspected fraud anonymously on 01444 477400.”