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X-tra honesty from Gary

PUBLISHED: 20:46 15 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:55 02 June 2010

Their slogan is always giving you extra - and it rang true for Gary Stafford when he checked his bank balance at the Halifax and found out someone had given him nearly £30,000.

Their slogan is always giving you extra - and it rang true for Gary Stafford when he checked his bank balance at the Halifax and found out someone had given him nearly £30,000.

Unemployed engineer Mr Stafford, from Swaffham, usually keeps a couple of pounds in his account to stop it going into his £50 overdraft.

But, on June 26, Breckland Council paid £26,880.95 into his account, followed by another £181.41 for good measure a few days later.

Mr Stafford, 47, was in the black to the tune of more than £27,000 - and faced with something of a dilemma.

“I could have drawn the money out and been on the next plane to Rio but I'm not like that. I'm so honest it's unbelievable,” he said at his flat off Sandringham Way last night.

“It would be the same if it was only a penny. I'm just not that way inclined.

“I'm unemployed and only living on £120 a fortnight. I've got a £50 overdraft and I have to borrow off Peter to pay Paul.

“If I had that sort of money I'd go and see my mother in Cornwall.”

Mr Stafford has reported the mix-up to Breckland which is now investigating.

After he worked briefly for the council as a caretaker in 2001, it gave him a reference saying he was “honest and hard-working”.

Breckland spokesman Mary Palmer said the mistake had already been flagged up by council accountants, adding: “The council has apologised to Mr Stafford over the payments made in error into his account.

“The payment from the Anglia Revenues Partnership should have been sent to a local housing association but due to an error in the electronic payment system this was paid into the wrong account.

“The council has written to Mr Stafford asking him to accept our sincerest apologies for the error made, and offering assistance in recovering the erroneous payment which resulted in his bank account being incorrectly credited.”

The Halifax - whose slogan is always giving you extra - said: “The old Monopoly Bank Error In Your Favour card isn't true.

“You should get in touch with your bank straight away if anything like this happens because it's not your money to spend.”

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