Lancashire man jailed for claiming benefits in Spain

War of words causes competitive scrabble players to desert the game. Image: Mitch Hutchinson/

AN EIGHT month sentence has been handed down to a convicted fraudster who claimed tens of thousands in benefits to fund a new life in Spain.

Barry Acton from Fylde told the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) he lived in Cleveleys, whilst in reality he spent much of his time in Murcia, Spain, enjoying two large three-bedroom properties he had purchased. 

The 68-year-old was initially a genuine claimant of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) courtesy of his hip problems, diabetes, cataracts and bladder issues, but did not disclose that he was no longer an habitual resident in the UK and thus ineligible for the money.

He was charged with a £31,379 fraud against the DWP and admitted two counts of failing to notify change in circumstances. 

 “The purpose of providing DLA and pension credits is so that individuals in need are able to live a reasonable standard of life. They are certainly not intended to fund persons such as yourself living abroad in Spain.” said Judge Recorder Mark Brown.

 “You are a person who has taken advantage of the goodwill shown to you in terms of being provided with benefits at a time when you were living abroad enjoying a life in Spain. This is not what benefits are intended to finance.” he continued.  

Vastly different conditions apply for Britons who wish to make benefit claims abroad and are the subject of tightening scrutiny.

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