A BENEFITS cheat who failed to declare that he had £16,000 in the bank was given a suspended prison sentence and put on a curfew.

Mark Peyton, aged 47, of Cherry Sutton, Hough Green, Widnes, admitted one charge of benefit fraud, failing to declare his savings when he appeared at Runcorn Magistrates Court on November 23.

He was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for one year, and placed on a curfew for 12 weeks, from 7pm to 7am.

He was ordered to pay £150 costs.

Peyton told officials his only income was income supprt and disability living alliowance.

He claimed housing benefit and council tax benefit.

On March 9, 2012, the Department for Works and Pensions investigation service alerted the council’s benefit investigation section that they had received information alleging that Peyton had failed to declare savings of more than £16,000.

When interviewed under caution, Peyton admitted that he had money in accounts that he had not declared, that was in excess of the £16,000 capital limit for claiming benefits.

As a result of his failure to declare his savings, Peyton incurred a total benefit overpayment of £16, 228.71 from March, 2011 to March, 2012.