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'Sheer greed' sends benefit fraud man to jail

PUBLISHED: 09:10 10 March 2010 | UPDATED: 11:39 08 July 2010

A JUDGE said it was 'sheer greed' after he jailed a man who fraudulently claimed more than £48,000 in benefits for himself and his wife - by not declaring they had both been working as self-employed couriers.

A JUDGE said it was “sheer greed” after he jailed a man who fraudulently claimed more than £48,000 in benefits for himself and his wife - by not declaring they had both been working as self-employed couriers.

Colin Pye, 56, continued to claim housing and council tax benefits from Breckland Council and also claimed income sport on behalf of his wife Teresa, which over a nine year period totalled £48,500.

Pye of Hills Close, Sporle, admitted falsely obtaining benefits and also one charge of aiding and abetting his wife to falsely claim benefits.

Norwich Crown Court heard that his wife was now suffering from ill-health and although Pye was still in full-time work he also acted as a carer for his wife.

Matthew Edwards, prosecuting on behalf of Breckland Council said that there was not a lot of prospect of getting all the money back as Pye had been declared bankrupt.

Jailing him for six months, Judge Peter Jacobs told him he accepted Pye's claim had not started off as dishonest but after he and his wife had gained work he said he had “cynically” carried on claiming benefits and had obtained an “enormous amount of public money.”

“This is sheer greed on your part. You are stealing from all of us. The message really has to go out to people that the courts will not tolerate this. This is on far too larger scale.”

Stephen Spence, for Pye said that he had admitted his guilt at the earliest opportunity.

He said that if Pye went to prison the person who would suffer most would be his wife as although he worked in the day he took over as carer for his wife in the evening.

“Any sentence will have far more effect on her.”

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