Fylde: From the courts 10-02-16

Blackpool Magistrates' Court
Blackpool Magistrates' Court
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A couple earned more than £55,000 in income that was not declared to the authorities while the husband illegally claimed benefits.

Adesola Omotode had three jobs while pocketing more than £8,000 in housing benefits from a council.

He worked as a web data officer for a hospital, at a hotel and he and his wife also worked as carers at night.

Omotode, a 45-year-old father-of-two, of Banbury Road, St Annes, pleaded guilty to dishonestly making a false statement.

He was sentenced to do 100 hours unpaid work for the community and ordered to pay £85 costs plus £60 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Pam Smith, prosecuting, said Omotode’s claim was false from the outset. He said his wife was a student but did not disclose she worked at night for Lancashire Care.

He did say he worked part-time as a web data officer at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, but never mentioned he also worked as a carer for the same company as his wife and also at the Dalmeny Hotel, St Annes.

Between October 2013 and March last year Omotode illegally claimed £8,245 in housing benefit from Fylde Borough Council.

The prosecutor said: “As a couple they earned £55,750 in undeclared income.”

When interviewed by fraud investigators he said he did not believe his wife, a student at the University of Lancashire, needed to be included when he made the claim. He said he had made a mistake and that they took on extra work to pay for funerals after two family members died.

Ian Dacre, defending, said his client had no previous convictions and that the £55,000 plus the couple had earned was a gross figure, not what they were putting in their pockets.

Omotode’s wife had not been eligible for a student loan because she was not a British national. He did not believe he had to include their work as carers in the benefits application because it was a zero hours contract.

Omotode now had a repayment plan in place to pay back the council what he owed at £25 per month.

• A soldier committed a catalogue of crimes in Wesham a court was told.

Deron Stapleton, 34, of Wesham, pleaded guilty to assaulting a man and behaving in a threatening manner.

He also admitted failing to stop while driving a BMW for two police officers, after he was involved in an accident with a police Land Rover on Derby Road and failing to provide a specimen for alcohol testing.

The offences are alleged to have taken place at Wesham in July last year.

Stapleton’s case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports by Blackpool magistrates.

• A plumber given money to install a new bath at a pensioner’s home gambled the cash away.

Matthew Hutchinson took £660 from the 82-year-old man to do the work and then failed to return the victim’s calls about what was happened.

Hutchinson told police that when he saw the money in his account he could not resist due to his gambling addiction and when he was gambling nothing else mattered – even his family.

The plumber had still not been able to get a new bath because Hutchinson had not fully paid him back.

The 29-year-old plumber, of Heaton Road, St Annes, pleaded guilty to fraud.

He was sentenced to a 12-month community order with up to 20 days rehabilitation to be supervised by the probation service, ordered to do 80 hours unpaid work for the community and told to pay £450 compensation to the victim, £85 costs plus £60 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Presiding magistrate Christine Greaves told him: “He was a vulnerable victim and there has been the loss of a valuable amenity to him.”

Pam Smith, prosecuting, said the pensioner rang Hutchinson’s plumbing firm on October 10 last year, and it was agreed the defendant would install a bath for him.

The pensioner put £660 in Hutchinson’s account. The plumber twice rang the pensioner saying he could not start the job as he was ill.

Hutchinson then said he could not do the work due to a build-up of jobs and that he would return the pensioner’s money. The money was not repaid and Age Concern contacted the police on the pensioner’s behalf.

Hutchinson agreed to pay the money back, but he only returned £210 to the pensioner leaving him £450 out of pocket.

The prosecutor said the pensioner had been unable to have the modifications done to his bathroom that he physically needed because Hutchinson had not given him back all his money.

Hutchinson, who had no previous convictions, had been gambling since he was 21. He told magistrates he could not control his gambling addiction. He had gone for help to Gamblers Anonymous and his doctor, but nothing worked.

He had set up his plumbing business one-and-a-half years ago and got good on-line reviews, but added he had ruined it. He said he loved his work but his gambling 
had had a knock-on effect on it.