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Woman who worked on Angelina Jolie hit is £20,000 benefit crook

11th July 2014

A costume designer who worked on the Angelina Jolie film 'Maleficent' has been sentenced for stealing almost £20,000 in benefits. Crooked Helen Beaumont illegally claimed thousands in housing benefit and jobseeker’s allowance between May 2009 and November 2012. An investigation by Haringey Council and the Department for Work and Pensions discovered that the 37-year-old failed to disclose her work and savings of over £16,000 when she applied for the benefits. At Highbury Corner Magistr...

Lock-snapping uncovered

11th July 2014

Home security is high on most people’s agendas, but, unbeknown to many, millions of UK homes are at risk because of a product we all see as providing a barrier between burglars and our possessions – the lock. Raymond Pearce, head of UK sales for Avocet Hardware, talks about the fight against lock-snapping. If you mention lock-snapping in conversation, the chances are most people will know what you’re talking about – and an increasing number of people will know someone a...

Plans blocked after developer fails to provide funds for affordable housing

7th July 2014

A developer's plans have been blocked after it failed to provide sufficient funding for affordable housing. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea refused Illona House Securities permission to build a cinema, shop and 11 flats on King's Road because the developer didn't fully honour its section 106 obligations. At a public inquiry in April, planning inspector Jessica Graham was asked to consider whether the scheme made a sufficient financial contribution towards affordable housing. The de...

DWP's unpaid back-to-work policy takes another legal battering

7th July 2014

The Department for Work and Pensions' attempt to remould its spluttering back-to-work scheme has been found contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights. The DWP composed retrospective legislation in 2013 in an attempt to shore-up the policy after it was successfully challenged by a 24-year-old graduate. Cait Reilly complained that her human rights had been breached when her jobcentre demanded she did unpaid work for Poundland. Ms Reilly risked losing her jobseeker's allowance if she didn't ta...

£125 luxury burger fraudster kicked out of council home

2nd July 2014

A benefits cheat who ran a gourmet pub that sold £125 champagne truffle burgers has been evicted from his council home. Gastronomic fraudster Stephen Sussams fought a lengthy battle with Croydon Council to remain in his Marston Way property in Upper Norwood. However, last week Croydon County Court finally gave the green light for the culinary crook to be removed from the home. The 61-year-old, who was jailed for a year in January 2013 for a string of fraud charges, is the former landlord ...

Court of Appeal rejects attempt to block new Hereford rugby club and housing

2nd July 2014

The Court of Appeal has rejected a parish council's attempt to block the development of a new rugby ground and 190 homes in Hereford. Hampton Bishop Parish Council had appealed against the decision, claiming the development would completely transform the area. However, three judges upheld Herefordshire Council's decision to grant outline planning permission to Hereford Rugby Football Club to develop the site, a collection of apple orchards that supply fruit to local cider maker Bulmers. The sp...

Right to buy rules tightened after fraud investigations

30th June 2014

A local authority is tightening up its rules surrounding right to buy in an effort to combat fraud. Sandwell Council's recent investigations have led to seven right to buy applications being cancelled or withdrawn, worth an estimated £321,000. And the local authority is currently investigating 94 sales out of 481 that have "raised concerns". The council saw a surge in applications for right to buy after the government raised the maximum property discount to £75,000 two years ago. In 2012...

Tenant jailed after weed farm found in shed

26th June 2014

A council tenant has been sentenced to eight months in prison after a cannabis farm of more than 50 plants was found in his shed.  Roy Byrne was convicted at Snaresbrook Crown Court for cultivation of controlled drugs in his local authority-owned property.  In light of the guilty verdict, Havering Council has filed for a possession claim with the courts that could result in Byrne being evicted from his house. Byrne was also found guilty of stealing electricity and it is likely that thi...

Crooked estate agent must pay back illegal subletting gains

24th June 2014

An estate agent who committed housing fraud has been found guilty of illegal subletting. Following a Southwark Council-led investigation, Mans Kanu, an employee of one of London’s leading estate and letting agencies, was found to be illegally subletting his council owned property in Walworth, Southwark. Legal proceedings was taken against Kanu under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 and he was ordered to pay back over £7,000 as a part of a mutual agreement settled in Lambe...

Council’s licensing scheme to target rogue landlords

24th June 2014

Rogue landlords who provide poor quality housing are the target of a new licensing scheme to improve private rented accommodation for tenants in Croydon. Under the scheme, every private landlord will be required to obtain a licence, whereby they will have to demonstrate they have met a series of health and safety standards. The proposed selective licensing scheme is a key part of the 'Don’t Mess with Croydon' campaign to clean up the borough by improving conditions in private rented accommoda...

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