Roger Burns, 71, is now starting a six month jail sentence after falsely claiming thousands of pounds of benefits. The yacht is expected to be confiscated
Benefit cheat Roger Burns claimed nearly £30,000, despite inheriting £100,000 and receiving a work pension lump sum of £22,000.
A judge at Maidstone Crown Court in Kent heard that the 71-year-old pensioner also spent £50,000 on a yacht, mooring it in Tenerife.
Burns, who used to come from Dartford in Kent but is now believed to be living in Portugal, admitted two offences on 3 January 2017 of failing to notify a change of circumstances between April 2009 and January 2015.
The yacht is expected to be forfeited as part of confiscating proceedings, which are scheduled to take place in April.
According to the Daily Mail, prosecutor Matthew Turner said Burns falsely claimed £26,435 in pension credits and £3,278 in council tax benefit.
He also received just over £22,000 pension annuity lump sum and further pension payments – this put him over the allowable limit for the benefits he was claiming.
Addressing the court, Turner said: “During his interview, he accepted he had received proceeds from the sale of his mother’s house – just over £100,000 – and then spent £50,000 on a boat moored in Tenerife.”
“He may now have to forfeit that boat as part of confiscation proceedings in relation to this offence,” he added.
The court heard that Burns has several health conditions, is 40 per cent deaf, has suffered a major stroke and needs to use a stick to help him walk.
He legitimately receives disability allowance, and is currently repaying the overpayments from his state pension.
Defending Burns, Jason Dunn-Shaw said his client had chest, heart, prostate and bladder problems.
“This is one of those cases where the claim starts legitimately and then, because of a change of circumstances not notified, it becomes dishonest,” Dunn-Shaw told the court, while arguing that his client should be spared jail.
“He is perfectly willing to cooperate in refunding these payments and he has come along today with a list of assets he is willing to dispose of. I ask the court to view that as a demonstration of his remorse,” he added
Despite his age and poor health, Judge Charles Macdonald jailed Burns.
“This was conscious and deliberate offending and motivated by greed, including the acquisition of a yacht for £50,000,” he told the pensioner.
“The only mitigation is to be found in some remorse and your state of health,” added the judge.