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Telephone tip off caught benefits fiddler

PUBLISHED: 18:03 02 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:01 23 August 2010

A BENEFIT cheat who falsely claimed more than £4,000 in council tax and housing payments has been given an 18-month conditional discharge. Stephen Meen, of Maritime Gate, Northfleet, pleaded guilty to two offences of benefit fraud at Dartford Magistrates

A BENEFIT cheat who falsely claimed more than £4,000 in council tax and housing payments has been given an 18-month conditional discharge.

Stephen Meen, of Maritime Gate, Northfleet, pleaded guilty to two offences of benefit fraud at Dartford Magistrates Court last Wednesday.

Gravesham Borough Council began investigating after an anonymous telephone call and discovered Meen had failed to inform them when his wife and son moved into his home and also provided a false statement in a review of his benefits in August 2008.

Between June 1, 2007, and March 19, 2009, he claimed £3,444 housing benefit and £1,162 in council tax benefits he wasn't entitled to. Meen told the court: "I'm not proud of what I've done."

Adrian Warburton, cabinet member for transformation said: "This case shows that the fraud hotline brings results and that we will investigate and prosecute anyone who steals public money in this way."

Meen was given a conditional discharge for 18 months and the council was awarded £200 costs, to be paid at £10 per fortnight.

If you suspect someone is claiming benefits illegally, call Gravesham Borough Council between 8am and 5pm on 01474 33 72 31, text 'fraud' with details to 07781 48 05 21, visit www.gravesham.gov.uk/

fraud or leave a message on the 24-hour voice mail service on 01474 33 74 00.

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