A MAN has heard a prison sentence is one possible punishment after he committed a £10,000-plus benefit fiddle during a period of almost three years.

Brian Thomas Mingins, 58, admitted one dishonesty offence when he appeared at Carlisle magistrates’ court today (Tuesday).

Prosector Peter Kelly gave details of Mingins’ crime.

“In effect, Mr Mingins claimed universal credit from the Department for Work and Pensions,” said Mr Kelly. “That claim was initially a legitimate claim. He claimed he was unable to work and had less than £6,000 in savings.

“That was a lawful and legitimate claim. However, it became an unlawful claim after July 4, 2020, when it was subsequently discovered the defendant’s capital resources were such that they went beyond the £6,000 limit.

“The defendant was subsequently interviewed and, I understand, made full admissions.”

From the court dock, Mingins pleaded guilty to a charge of dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances affecting entitlement to benefits. This occurred in the Carlisle area during a period of almost three years, between July 2020 and May 3, 2023, when the total amount unlawfully claimed by Mingins was £10,603.96.

Government rules state that any capital or savings above £6,000 are treated as a monthly income and would bring about a reduction in any benefits being claimed.

Mr Kelly said Mingins had not been in any other trouble since 2004. Of the DWP, the prosecutor added: “The Department will, in due course, be making arrangements for the recovery of that money.”

And of the potential sentences, Mr Kelly said: “I think it is accepted this case crosses the custody threshold.”

Defence solicitor Duncan Campbell, giving mitigation, said of the fraudulent benefit claim: “The position here is that it was an oversight initially. As time went on, he realised the situation was one he should have reported to the Department.

“There are all sorts of reasons for that.”

Mr Campbell requested the preparation of a probation service pre-sentence report to provide more details about Mingins’ personal circumstances.

Magistrates adjourned the case. Mingins, now of Knowe Crescent, Newarthill, Motherwell, is due to be sentenced for his offending at the magistrates’ court on April 23.