A BENEFITS cheat fraudulently claimed nearly £7,000 in carer’s allowance after landing himself a job, a court heard.

Tony Fowler’s original application for the benefit in 2013 was entirely genuine as he was looking after his stepson who has learning difficulties and earning less than the £110 per week threshold.

He took on the role as the boy’s carer because his partner was working full-time.

But in January 2016, Fowler landed himself a job as a maintenance man in a care home.

Fowler, of Waldegrave Way, Lawford, declared to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) some of his other benefits now needed to stop or decrease but failed to disclose the carer’s allowance.

He was sent several letters explaining that he must come forward if circumstances change but admitted to investigators he would not always read his post.

The 52-year-old, who had no previous convictions,was found out in April 2018 and the payments were stopped.

He was overpaid £6,993.90 in just over two years.

Fowler admitted dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting entitlement to benefits when he appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court.

He had already set up a repayment plan to try to clear the cash he fraudulently claimed.

Paul Baker, mitigating, said Fowler had tried to be honest.

He said: “In 2016 he got his job in the care home and was working 25 hours per week.

“He contacted the DWP and made them aware of the situation.

“Some other benefits came to an end but for whatever reason those who deal with carer’s allowance were not made aware and as a consequence he continued to receive the money.

“He is no longer claiming any benefits apart from child allowance and he is now working full time.”

Magistrates ordered Fowler undertake 80 hours of unpaid work as part of a 12 month community order. He was also asked for £195 in court fees.