A FRAUDSTER who failed to tell authorities of a pension he held since 1991 has avoided jail.

James Perrin, of Shakeston Close, Writtle, was taken to court by Chelmsford Council after being overpaid housing and council tax Benefit totalling £15,915.38.

He had failed to notify the council of the Scottish Equitable Pension held by him and Perrin pleaded guilty during a hearing at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday February 4.

Perrin was given a six week prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay £80 costs.

Anyone who suspects that someone may be claiming benefits unlawfully can call the council’s free hotline number on 0800 614469 or email benefitfraud@chelmsford.gov.uk.