Benefits cheat spared jail because of good deed

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A benefits cheat escaped jail after a judge heard he was community-minded and had presented two giant pumpkins to a Thurnscoe school.

Former miner Patrick McLoughlin, aged 53, of Garden Street, Thurnscoe, defrauded taxpayers over eight-years to the tune of £24,420.57, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Kevin Jones said he failed to tell the Department of Work and Pensions he’d received an occupational pension since 1992.

McLoughlin had an accident at the pit when he was 31 and when he applied for benefits did not disclose the pension.

“His benefits would have been reduced or not paid at all,” said Mr Jones.

The total overpayment was £24,420.57.

Recorder Nicholas Lumley QC gave him a nine-month sentence suspended for two years because of his good character and told him to do 120 hours unpaid work.