A father-of-two from Coppull has been jailed for six months for claiming nearly £20,000 in benefits he wasn’t entitled to.

James Mark Anderton, 49, of Chapel Lane, falsely claimed benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Chorley Council over a three year period, Preston Crown Court was told.

The court heard that he had claimed as a single parent with no means of supporting himself or his family, but he was in fact living with his partner who was in full time work.

Anderton pleaded guilty to six offences of dishonestly obtaining income support, jobseekers’ allowance, employment and support allowance and council tax benefit. The total amount over paid was £19,908.99.

Councillor Peter Wilson, who oversees benefits payments for Chorley Council, said: “This case came to light because of an anonymous tip off to the DWP.

“When it became clear that the allegation also affected Mr Anderton’s entitlement to council tax benefit, a joint investigation was launched between the council and DWP investigators.

“This conviction and the custodial sentence handed down is a clear warning to anyone committing benefit fraud that the consequences of falsely obtaining benefit can be severe.”

Steps are now being taken to recover the overpayment in full.