A retired ITV employee was spared an immediate jail term after he admitted fraudulently claiming more than £21,000 in benefits to help ease his own financial problems, a court heard.

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Roy Beeston, 68, of Norman Drive, Old Catton, claimed pension credit over a six year period without declaring that he was regularly getting a work pension from ITV, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Jonathan Morgans, prosecuting on behalf of the Department of Works and Pensions, said that the claim was fraudulent from the outset and amounted to £21,674.

Beeston, who is a full-time carer for his wife , is paying the money back at £70 a month but there will be a further confiscation hearing to try to claw back the rest of the cash as Beeston has other assets including his home.

Beeston admitted making a false statement to get benefits and was jailed for six months suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.

Sentencing him, Recorder David Pugh told Beeston said that despite having been sent forms to update his details he never informed the DWP about his work pension.

“You accept you made the decision to claim pension credit as a means of solving your financial difficulties “

Michael Clare, for Beeston, said “He worked for ITV for most of his life and had a pension.”

He said that when Beeston retired at 62 he started claiming pension credit despite not declaring his income from his work pension.

“It was fraudulent from the outset.”

However he said that Beeston was repaying the cash at £70 a month and was a full time carer for his wife, who is in poor health.

Mr Clare said that Beeston was remorseful for what he had done and was desperate not to lose his home.

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