Burnley builder must pay back £14,000

First published in News

A BURNLEY builder who got almost £14,000 he wasn't entitled to in benefits must pay it all back, plus a £300 adjustment for inflation.

Rodney Capstick, 63, had claimed pension credit and had told the Department for Work and Pensions he was working part-time.

But, investigations were carried out with a letting agency where it was thought he was doing building work on various properties. He was earning more than he was telling the department and had a business account, Burnley Crown Count had heard.

Capstick had earlier been convicted by Pennine magistrates, after a trial, of falling to promptly notify a change in circumstances, between December 2009 and June 2012.

Capstick, of Hufling Lane, Burnley, who had no previous convictions, had been committed to the higher court for sentence and had been given a 12-month community order, with 80 hours unpaid work. He had been overpaid £13, 920 over the two-and- half years.

He was back in court for a Proceeds of Crime Hearing yesterday.

Amanda Johnson, for the prosecution, said the benefit figure, adjusted for inflation, was £14,266.93, and the realisable amount was the same figure. She said Capstick would have to pay it in instalments out of his income, as he had no assets to sell.

Recorder Timothy Ryder ordered Capstick hand over £14,266.93 within six months. If he cannot do that before September 27, Capstick can apply for more time, but if the sum is not paid he could serve eight months in jail in default.

The sentencing hearing had earlier been told how Capstick, a self-employed builder, had made a genuine claim for pension credit in November 2009, on the basis of business problems due to the economic climate.

He notified the DWP he had started work again, but part-time. Capstick had provided information and there was then surveillance undertaken. Miss Johnson had told the court that having heard of that, Capstick allegedly called the benefits department, indicating he would close his claim to pension credit as his earnings had increased.

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