Retained firefighter who fiddled benefits must pay back £6,000

Essex County Standard: Benefits cheat must pay back £6,000 Benefits cheat must pay back £6,000

A RETAINED firefighter has been ordered to complete 100 hours unpaid work after he falsely claiming more than £6,500 in benefits.

Adrian Philipsen, 31, of Collingwood Court, Frinton, incorrectly claimed £6,701 from Tendring Council.

Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard he had initially made a legitimate claim for housing benefit and council tax benefit in January 2009. But during the following months, his income increased from £500 per month, with some payments being more than double the figure.

As a retained firefighter, Philipsen said he had a set income of about £500 per month, which increased if he was called out to fires.

The court heard that when his pay increased, he did not think to tell the council, because it fluctuated every month. Philipsen also said he had no other income.

He admitted failing to notify the council of a change in his circumstances, which affected his entitlement to benefits, between February 2009 and July 2013.

In addition to the unpaid work, magistrates also ordered Philipsen to pay £610, comprising of costs and a victim surcharge.

A settlement plan has also been agreed to pay back the money to the council.

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