A MAN has been given a suspended sentence and been ordered to pay costs of £250 after pleading guilty to Housing and Council Tax benefit fraud.

James Ellis, 31, of Southview Road, failed to declare his partner was living with him and that she was working.

From 17 May 2009 to 20 March 2011 he falsely claimed £7,787 in Housing benefit.

He also claimed £1,714 in Council Tax benefit from 17 May 2009 to 15 March 2011.

The case was heard at Basildon Magistrates Court on Monday 15 October.

Stuart Sullivan, cabinet member for resources, said: “This man has a flagrant disregard for the law by dishonestly dipping into the public purse.

“The Magistrates commented in respect of both offences that there had been quite a degree of planning and that this was fraudulent from the outset.

“They said there had been significant loss of money from the public purse and the offences were committed over a significant period.

“Let this be a lesson to would-be benefit cheats. You will be caught and made to pay back every penny.”