A FATHER of four who hid his £39,000 nest egg to dishonestly claim more than £40,000 in Income Support over six years has been spared an immediate prison sentence.

Mazhar Din, 55, of Toller Lane, Bradford, misled the Department of Work and Pensions into paying him an annual sum of around £7,000 from the public purse.

He pleaded guilty to dishonestly failing to disclose his savings, between November 16, 2012, and May 9, 2018 intending to make a gain, namely Income Support, for himself.

Din admitted the charge at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court and was sent to the crown court for sentence.

Prosecutor, Ken Green, said that the benefit fraud had netted Din £42,562.

He failed to disclose that he had £39,000 in savings, claiming to have just £700 put by.

The court heard that savings needed to be below £16,000 to claim the benefit, so that Din was £23,000 over the threshold.

The benefit claim was fraudulent from the outset, covered a period of almost six years and gave Din £7,000 a year he was not entitled to.

Din’s barrister, Christopher Moran, said that he cared for his wife, who suffered from a number of debilitating medical conditions, and relied on him on a daily basis. Apart from committing the offence, Din was a responsible, hard working father of four grown up children.

The money he had put by was for his family and to make health care payments for his wife.

He had already paid back more than £12,500.

Mr Moran asked Judge Colin Burn to impose a suspended sentence of imprisonment, conceding that the fraud “clearly crosses the custody threshold.”

Din had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, made a significant repayment and was of previous good character.

Judge Burn told Din: “It is simply unacceptable for someone to try to protect their savings by claiming money from the public purse."

Such offending was “mean, anti-social and very shameful,” he said. Judge Burn continued: “It is no good being a respected member of your immediate community if you are pilfering from the wider community to protect your relatively healthy savings.”

But Din was the carer for his poorly wife who had been ill for decades.

Judge Burn said that if Din had taken the matter to trial, he would have been jailed for nine months. Taking into account his guilty plea, the sentence was six months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 250 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation activity requirement.

Judge Burn set out a Proceeds of Crime Act timetable to get back money still owed by Din.

A hearing was fixed for June 18.