A Cromer man was overpaid about £2,000 in council tax and housing benefits after failing to tell a council that his wife was working.

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Last Thursday, Robert Emery apologised to magistrates for the crime, which he said was “not done deliberately”.

He added that he had learned from his mistakes and promised that it would “not happen again”.

Emery, 51, from Bond Street, Cromer, pleaded guilty to the offence, which related to the period from May 10 2010 to July 10 last year, when he appeared before Norwich magistrates on Thursday.

Prosecuting for North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), Cara Jordan said that Emery had been overpaid £2073.14, and still owed the council £591.81.

She said that he had been claiming benefits since 1993 and had been a self-employed window cleaner.

She added that he knew that his wife’s working would affect his entitlement to benefits.

Emery, representing himself, said that he had had family problems and that he had gone bankrupt.

He said: “That period of time was the worst two years of my life.

“I was trying to pay credit card bills and other bills and I was juggling too many balls.

“It was not done deliberately. I had gone 50 years without getting into trouble.

“I have tried to turn my life round and it won’t happen again. I have learned from my mistakes.”

Magistrates decided to fine Emery £65 and a £15 victim surcharge. He must also pay £100 costs.

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