A cheating oven repairman who lied to his wife about being unemployed for seven years stole nearly £60,000 in benefits, a court has heard.
Gary Poole, 60, carried out a campaign of deception against the state and his own wife as he secretly worked on fixing ovens each day.
Bolton Crown Court heard how his wife received tens of thousands in benefits which she was not entitled to because she believed he was unemployed.
Between November 2012 to February 2019 his wife claimed roughly £52,000 in employment support allowance (ESA) as well as £5,000 in housing benefits from March 2015 to February 2019.
Poole, of Bolton, Greater Manchester, pleaded guilty to two offences of benefit fraud on Wednesday and handed him a 12-month suspended sentence.
Judge Ciaran Rankin said: “I have said before, this type of offending which you have admitted to is not a victimless time.
“The next time you or one of your friends calls on the police and no-one is available is it in part because of offending like this.
“You have stolen from the state which society relies on to provide services like the fire service and nurses. You were in the unusual case of leaving the house dressed for work pretending you were not going to work.
“You pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and have been of hitherto good character.”
Prosecutors accepted that Poole’s wife had no knowledge of what he was up to and she faced no action as a result.
Prosecutor Kyra Badman said: “There are two offences to reflect the fact that there are two types of benefits, employment support allowance (ESA) and housing benefit.
“His partner was receiving ESA from November 2012 to February 2019 and housing benefit from March 2015 to February 2019.
“He started working in repair services for an oven chain.
“His partner did not know about the income.
“For housing benefit the total loss to Wigan Council was just over £5,000, at £5,163.
“For ESA the total loss to the DWP was just under £52,000 at £51,917.”
Defence counsel Nick Ross said in mitigation that his client had no previous convictions at the age of 60.
Pool will have to carry out 150 hours of community service as part of his sentence, and will return to court in March for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing.