April 25 2014 Latest news:

A SUFFOLK benefit cheat who was renting out a house while still claiming more than £25,000 in handouts has been spared jail.

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Nigel Ling, of Lincoln Avenue, Saxmundham, carried on making fraudulent claims even though he was the landlord of a property in Lowestoft.

The 48-year-old was given a six-month suspended prison sentence when he appeared before South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court.

Ling had previously pleaded guilty to falsely receiving £18,907 of housing benefits, £4,991 of council tax benefits and more than £1,000 of Jobseekers’ Allowance.

After Ling’s sentencing a spokesman for Suffolk Coastal District Council said: “We took this serious case to court because Mr Ling failed to disclose ownership of a property in Lowestoft that he had bought in May 2006, as well the rental income he had received as a result from tenants, or the correct level of his earned income.

“This case was brought by Suffolk Coastal’s anti-fraud team and was the latest in the council’s on-going pursuit of anyone in the district trying to falsely claim benefits to which they are not entitled.

“It should be increasingly clear that anyone committing benefit fraud is likely to be caught, and will have to pay back whatever they have wrongfully received, appear before the courts and have a criminal record as a result.”

Following an inquiry by Suffolk Coastal District Council’s specialist benefit fraud team Ling was charged with nine counts of dishonestly claiming various benefits.

The six-month prison sentence he received has been suspended for a year.

As part of his sentence magistrates ordered Ling to be supervised by the probation service.

He was also ordered to the carry out 240 hours of unpaid community service, and to take a thinking skills course.

In addition Ling must also pay a fine of £150.

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