A 75-YEAR-old who claimed nearly £35,000 in benefits while running his own business has been warned he could face jail.

A 75-YEAR-old who claimed nearly £35,000 in benefits while running his own business has been warned he could face jail.

Roy O'Dell, of Squires Court, Eaton Socon, had been making claims for income support, pension credit and council tax since 2001, as well as claiming money towards the payment of his mortgage interest, dependent upon his being out of work.

He failed to declare that from 2001 to 2011 he ran his own a business as newspaper distributor.

He pleaded guilty to 10 charges of benefit fraud committed between 2001 and 2011 when he appeared at Huntingdon Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, July 26.

Nick Jennings, prosecuting for the Huntingdonshire District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions, told the court that O'Dell had claimed over £34,800 in state benefits for 10 years by concealing his work from the authorities.

O'Dell was told that the offence was so serious that custody was being considered, but that the matter could be referred to the Crown Court if magistrates felt they did not have sufficient sentencing powers.

The case was adjourned until August 23 for sentencing.

Two other cases were heard by magistrates following investigations undertaken by HDC's fraud team.

David Hewitt, 52, of Russell Court, St Neots was sentenced to 80 hours of unpaid work for claiming that he was the sole occupier of his property between 2005 and 2010, during which time he was overpaid £3,829 in benefits and council tax discounts.

Hewitt was also ordered to pay the council's full costs of £480.

Daniel Heath, 28, of Great North Road, Eaton Socon, pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud by failing to report that he was working while claiming housing benefit and council tax benefit for three months in 2010.

Heath, who was overpaid £1,028, was sentenced to 40 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay compensation to the council for the sums overpaid to him.