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A FRAUDSTER who moved house but claimed almost £4,500 in benefits on his old address has been ordered to pay it back.

Michael Laurenson-West, 69, of Chiltern flats, Coleman Street, Southend, admitted dishonestly failing to report a change in his circumstances and ten counts of dishonesty in retaining a wrongful credit when he appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court on May 14.

He began claiming housing and council tax benefits in June 2010 when he was living at Southchurch Avenue but, after moving to Chiltern on October 31, 2012, bank statements show he continued to claim for his old address.

He was handed a four-week curfew, ordered to pay £100 costs and a £60 victim surcharge as well as having to pay back £4,465.55 of wrongly-received housing benefit.

The council’s Corporate Services director Sally Holland said: “Although the council is committed to paying benefits to those who are entitled, it also has a duty to protect the public purse and take action against people committing benefit fraud.

“It is an offence to commit benefit fraud and, as this case shows, repayment of benefit is not the only action that the council may wish to take.

“If anyone has suspicions over a person entitlement to benefit they can call the Corporate Fraud Investigation Team direct on 01702 215254, or e-mail counterfraud@southend.gov.uk.

“All information received is treated in the strictest confidence.”