Disgraced ex-Sheffield United director guilty of dishonestly claiming £4,000 in benefits

Stephen Hinchcliffe arrives at Sheffield Magistrates Court
Stephen Hinchcliffe arrives at Sheffield Magistrates Court
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Disgraced business tycoon and former Sheffield United director Stephen Hinchliffe has admitted dishonestly claiming more than £4,000 worth of benefits.

Hinchliffe, aged 65, pleaded guilty to four charges at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court yesterday in relation to offences related to overpayment of pension credits worth £4,228.89.

The court heard the payments equated to 127 weeks’ worth of incorrectly paid benefits.

He was charged with dishonestly failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions and Sheffield Council about changes to his circumstances affecting his entitlement to benefits, as well as making a false statement to the DWP.

The offences occurred between August 2012 and September 2013.

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The dramatic rise and fall of Sheffield tycoon Stephen Hinchliffe

Hinchliffe, of Old Hall Mews, Greenhill, represented himself in court and said arrangements had already been made for him to start paying back the money.

He said it was the third time he had been before different courts in relation to the matter and had thought it had already been dealt with.

Hinchliffe was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £15.

Hinchliffe was the previous owner of the Facia retail empire, which at its height employed almost 8,000 people in retail businesses such as Sock Shop, Contessa, Red or Dead.

It had about 850 shops under its control around the country.

In the 1990s, Hinchliffe had held a 15 per cent stake in Sheffield United and sat on the club’s board of directors prior to the collapse of Facia.

Facia went into receivership in 1996, and in 2001, Hinchliffe was convicted of bribing a bank manager to obtain millions of pounds in loans to expand the Facia group and was jailed for four years.

A further Serious Fraud Office investigation eventually led to Hinchliffe pleading guilty in 2003 to conspiracy to defraud the company, admitting to making a personal benefit of £1.75 million.

He had invoiced Facia with bogus or exaggerated consultancy fees and spent the cash on luxuries.

He was jailed for 18 months in July 2003 after the Serious Fraud Office appealed against his original suspended sentence of 15 months on the grounds it was too lenient.

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