Scrap metal dealer cheated state out of more than £21,000, court told

Magistrates' Court
Magistrates' Court
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A businessman who ripped off the benefits system to the tune of £21,310 has been given a suspended jail term.

Andrew Gibson, 49, and formerly of Perth Street, Lancaster, traded scrap at yards in Preston, Lancaster, Poulton-le-Fylde, Morecambe, Blackburn and Leigh, near Wigan - but was continuing to claim benefits he was no longer entitled to, Preston Magistrates' Court heard.

Gibson's claims for employment support allowance and housing benefit had begun legitimately in November 2008, on the basis he could not work due to ill health and was unemployed.

But he continued to pocket the cash when he launched three businesses.

The court heard in May 14, using an aliases of Andrew McGuinan, he became a scrap dealer, weighing in at various metal recycling sites on a regular basis.

On each occasion the father was issued with an invoice.

Later, in December 2015 , he gained a contract as a self employed parcels delivery contractor for Hermes.

He also gained a small contract to move furniture out of student flat letting company in north Lancashire.

The authorities became suspicious and with assistance of Lancashire police his home was searched - and ring binders containing all of the incriminating invoices of all the scrap he had weighed in were found.

In an interview he admitted he never reported changes and buried his head in the sand

The DWP found he was earning £462.75 a week from all his enterprises.

He was given a four month prison term suspended for a year and must do 100 hours unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay a £115 surcharge and £85 costs.