Unpaid work for fraudster

A Lavenham man who admitted fraudulently claiming thousands of pounds in benefits has been ordered to carry out community work.

Gary Raffle, 56, of Water Street, was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday to a 12-month community order. He was told to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £100 towards the cost of the prosecution.

He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to making false representation to obtain income support from the Department for Work and Pensions worth £27,500.

Raffle had been found not guilty on the direction of Mr Recorder Craig Ferguson of two offences of failing to notify a change in his circumstances, which he had denied.

The court had heard claims that despite selling a house in Hackney, East London, for more than £300,000, Raffle failed to reveal this when applying for benefits.

Since he sold the property in July 2006, the amount in Raffle’s bank account had fallen from £313,810 to around £60,000, said prosecutor William Eaglestone.

Raffle had claimed in interview that he believed the benefits he received were linked to his ill health and were not means-tested.