A BENEFITS cheat from Crewe has been ordered to pay back more than £7,000 he fraudulently claimed – and sentenced to complete 150 hours of unpaid community work.

Josef Karicka, 43, of Glover Street, Crewe, pleaded guilty before magistrates in Crewe to a charge of fraudulently claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

The court heard that Karicka had claimed the benefits since November 2011 on the basis that he was on a low income.

However, Cheshire East Council’s benefit fraud investigation team found that Karicka had, from the outset, been earning considerably more than he had been declaring to the Council.

Councillor Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: ““Benefit fraud will simply not be tolerated and we are committed to ensuring these people are brought to justice.

“Prosecutions like this send out a clear message that will take firm action to protect our taxpayers from those who abuse the system for their own gain.”

Karicka’s fraudulent claims led to him receiving benefits totalling £7,090 to which he was not entitled.

Magistrates ordered him to repay all the benefit money he had fraudulently received.

He was also sentenced to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid community work, pay £250 court costs and a victims’ surcharge of £60.

If you think someone is committing benefit fraud, you can ring the confidential freephone fraud hotline on 0800 389 2787. You don’t have to give your name and your call will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively, you can report suspected fraud via the Council’s website at cheshireeast.gov.uk