TWO benefit cheats- including an actor who performed Shakespeare plays- have escaped jail despite raking in a total £36,000 between them.
Paul Couchman, 41, of Peplow Close, Yiewsley, admitted claiming £28,000 in incapacity benefit from as far back as 2004 despite working for a theatre company.
Couchman, who worked under the stage name Peter Goode, performed Shakespeare classics Twelfth Night and Macbeth at venues across the south-east of England during this time.
He appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates Court last Monday (31/10) and was handed a 26 week jail sentence suspended for two years.
He was given a four week curfew and ordered to pay a £450 fine.
A second man, Jerome Lee, 25, of Pantile Walk, Uxbridge, was sentenced at Uxbridge Magistrates Court one day later last Tuesday. (1 Nov)
He was found guilty of fraudulently claiming over £8,800 in benefits after a Hillingdon Council and DWP joint investigation.
It emerged Lee had failed to disclose student support in form of grants and loans while claiming housing and council tax benefits and job seekers allowance.
He was sentenced to an 18 month community order, nine month supervision order, and instructed to pay £750 costs.
- Hillingdon Council's anti-fraud team were featured on BBC Panorama on Thursday, showcasing their investigative work into snaring benefit cheats, and drivers illegally using blue disabled badges.