A Postcode Lottery winner who bagged more than £166,000 has been jailed for continuing to claim benefits.
Eric Burrows, 62, spent his money on a car and a motorhome totalling £44,000 and holidays to Disney World in Florida but never informed the authorities about his win.
Swansea Crown Court heard he began claiming benefits in 2004 because he was unable to work with limited savings and for many years the claim was legitimate.
But Burrows, of Waunarlwydd, Swansea, continued to claim housing benefits and employment support, despite posing for photographs with his large cheque after winning the lottery in 2015.
Craig Jones, prosecuting, said Burrows’ ‘good fortune’ meant he had more than the £16,000 capital limit for benefit claimants meaning he was no longer eligible.
He said by November 2017 Burrows had just £7,665 in savings, after splashing it on holidays, vehicles and presents for his partner and sister.
Mr Jones said when Burrows was interviewed by investigators he accepted he had won the lottery, and said he didn’t declare it because he thought the cash was ‘family money’ and not his own.
He pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud totalling to £20,157.65.
Judge Keith Thomas said it was clear from a probation report that Burrows had been motivated by greed and had shown ‘little or no remorse’ for his actions.
He added: ‘It was a deliberate and determined fraud.’
The court heard Burrows had previous convictions for thefts, taking a car without the owner’s consent, burglary, and assault with intent to commit robbery, but there is nothing on his record since 1987.
Frank Phillips, defending, admitted his client’s thinking had been ‘disturbed’ but insisted he had been out of trouble for 30 years prior to his recent offences.
He added that Burrows is now in poor physical health.
But Judge Thomas said there was ‘no basis for believing a suspended sentence would have any rehabilitative purpose’.
Burrows was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison.