A BENEFIT cheat who hid his bank balance to make fraudulent claims worth more than £8,000 has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Daniel Plumpton, aged 35, formerly of Cherry Sutton, Widnes, admitted three charges of fraud.

He was given a three month prison sentence suspended for two years at Chester Crown Court on Monday, August 18, after being prosecuted by Halton Council.

He was ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work, put on a curfew from 9am to 6am for nine months, and must pay £500 costs.

He pleaded guilty to dishonestly failing to disclose undeclared capital in bank accounts whilst claiming benefits.

Plumpton claimed housing and council tax benefit from April 1, 2005 to July 1, 2012 based initially on his entitlement to income support and then on his entitlement to employment and support allowance.

It was discovered that he had unexplained cash deposits going into his bank accounts.

When benefit fraud investigators interviewed him, Plumpton stated that the monies going into his accounts were deposits from his parents to cover direct debits.

An analysis of his bank accounts revealed that, after deducting the direct debits from the deposits, there was still a large amount of excess income that had not been declared to either Halton Council or the Department for Work and Pensions.

Plumpton received overpayments of £5,182.90 employment and support allowance, £2,545.97 housing benefit and £ 547.79 council tax benefit. His total overpayment was £8,276.66.