A benefits cheat who illegally claimed more than £8,000 while he was working said his offences were the result of financial pressure.

At Carlisle’s Rickergate magistrates’ court, Alistair Lee Bradshaw, 46, admitted two charges of failing to notify the relevant authorities that his financial circumstances had changed.

Pam Ward, prosecuting, said the offences arose from the defendant’s claims for housing benefit and employment support allowance. He claimed the benefits dishonestly between April 2017 and January 2018.

The prosecutor said the offences came to light when it was confirmed that the defendant was claiming benefits while working for clothing firm Hugo Boss. He should have notified Carlisle City Council and the Department for Work & Pensions but failed to.

His criminal record included a theft by an employee in 2011, as well as an offence under the Fraud Act in 2015, and disqualified driving. The amount of employment support allowance overpaid came to £5,057, while the over-payment of housing benefit was £3,027.

Rachel Dixon, for Bradshaw, from Custy Steps, Great Orton, Carlisle, said: “When I asked him why he did this, he said he was motivated by financial pressure. At the time, he wanted the extra money from employment support allowance and housing benefit.”

The defendant was trying to keep up maintenance payments to his former partner for their child, she said. Miss Dixon said his relationship with his former partner was fractious. She said: “He is currently not working and that has been the situation since January. He’s in dire financial straits.

“He lives in a Riverside property and is not living a lavish lifestyle.” The money is being paid back - at a rate of £67 per month.” Magistrates imposed a nine week 7pm to 7am curfew, with £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.