£60k benefit fraudster warned to expect jail

A judge has warned a Grantham man to prepare for a spell in prison after he admitted dishonestly claiming over £60,000 in benefits while he was working.

59-year-old Robert Stanhope pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions of a change of circumstances when he appeared at Lincoln Crown Court last Friday.

The court heard Stanhope failed to notify the authorities he was in work while claiming incapacity benefit between August 2002 and April 2009.

Stanhope also admitted failing to tell the department of an improvement in his capabilities while claiming disability living allowance over the same period.

The court was told Stanhope dishonestly recieved a total of £61,469 in the two benefits during the considerably large and eight-year-long fraud.

Noel Philo, mitigating, asked Judge Sean Morris to consider suspending any prison sentence after telling him Stanhope had been out of trouble since 1982 and was still in work.

But Judge Morris refused the application and granted Stanhope bail for the preparation of a probation report.

Judge Morris warned Stanhope, of North Parade, Grantham, that a prison sentence is likely when he is sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court next month.

“As far as I can see in today’s climate the outcome for anyone who defrauds the public purse of £61,000 is prison, so get your house in order,” Judge Morris told Stanhope.