WISBECH: Drug addict over-claimed £14,000 of benefits to fuel his habit
PUBLISHED: 10:36 19 January 2009 | UPDATED: 08:50 02 June 2010
A DRUG addict over-claimed more than £14,000 of benefits to fuel his habit, a court heard on Friday. Russell Patrick, of Wisbech, claimed the extra money during a two-year period when he had savings in excess of a prescribed limit. Patrick, 43, who is liv
A DRUG addict over-claimed more than £14,000 of benefits to fuel his habit, a court heard on Friday.
Russell Patrick, of Wisbech, claimed the extra money during a two-year period when he had savings in excess of a prescribed limit.
Patrick, 43, who is living at the Ferry Project in Mill Close, admitted two charges of failing to declare his savings to the Department of Work and Pensions when he appeared before Fenland magistrates.
Alison Muir, prosecuting for the Department for Work and Pensions, told magistrates Patrick received income support between May 1999 and December 2007.
"That was initially paid by an order cashable fortnightly at the post office," Ms Muir said. "He was also told that if he had savings in excess of £3,000 he must return his payment book to the department."
But Patrick failed to notify the department he had savings in excess of the limit on two occasions - affecting his entitlement to council tax and housing benefits.
Ms Muir said Patrick was overpaid income support by £8,093.60 and housing and council tax benefits by £6,145.01.
Roger Glazebrook, mitigating, said Patrick was quite a heavy user of drugs and received a lump sum gift of £30,000 which was used to fuel his habit.
Mr Glazebrook said: "Being a drug addict - someone who begs, steals and borrows to obtain his drugs - it was a way of getting drugs without worrying where the money comes from.
"Quite frankly he saw the money as drugs as opposed to 'I'm claiming benefits'."
Sentencing was adjourned until February 13, for his financial circumstances to be considered.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Wisbech Standard. Click the link in the orange box above for details.