Benefit cheat avoids prison

A BENEFIT cheat was told he was ‘very lucky not to be going to prison’ by magistrates last week.

Philip Stevens, 60, of Omerod Avenue, St Leonards, was in court after failing to tell Hastings Borough Council of his partner’s earnings while claiming housing and council tax benefits for a number of years.

He admitted four charges of making a false statement after being overpaid by more than £14,000.

He was given 26 weeks in prison suspended for two years and given a six-month curfew (between 8pm and 8am) and told to do 300 hours unpaid work. He will also have to pay back the cash.