Benefits cheat is jailed

Two teenagers were approached by a man in a car who asked them to get in
Two teenagers were approached by a man in a car who asked them to get in

A man from Haverhill who illegally claimed more than £80,000 in benefits has been jailed

Henry Stockings, 56, had denied three offences but was last month unanimously found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court.

Stockings, of Mallow Walk, Haverhill, was last Thursday jailed for 18 months by Mr Recorder David Pugh who told him: “This was a sustained fraud committed over a period of ten years.”

Aggravating features in the case had been Stockings repeatedly signing statements that he was entitled to the money and the extended period of time involved, said the Recorder.

During a four day trial, the jury heard allegations that Stockings had been claiming income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit he was living with the mother of his two children.

The prosecution said that Stockings had signed declarations to say that only he and his children were resident at the rented property.

Benefit investigators found that Stockings’ partner Frances Brewer was also living at the re.

Stockings pleaded not guilty to failing to notify St Edmundsbury Borough Council of change in circumstances that would affect his entitlement to council tax benefit between April 2003 and April 2012.

He also denied two offences of failing to make a similar notification to the Department f Work and Pensions between March 2002 and January 2009 and again between July 2010 and July 2011.

The claims involved £46,115 in income support, £28,832 in housing benefit and £6,099 in council tax benefit, totalling £81,046.

Mitigating, Marcus Croskill said: “This is a classic case where it seems there have been a change of circumstances and parties have rekindled their relationship.”

Mr Croskill said that Stockings, a self-employed decorator, suffered from health problems which had previously forced him to give up his career as a fork lift driver.

References described Stockings, who had expressed remorse, as someone who would go out of his way to help others through charitable work.

Mr Croskill told the court: “This is not a man who has used the money to buy luxury items.

This is, overall, out of character. He has not up to this point been in trouble and quite frankly he is not going to be before the courts again.”