The sentence handed down to a Job Centre fraudster, is almost as ridiculously pointless as the crime itself. I know the public never know all the facts in these cases, and it’s difficult to reach a fair conclusion without a full understanding of all the facts - but a 12 month jail term, ‘suspended’ for the theft of £52,000.
Perhaps these judges have little choice but to be lenient, considering that the public coffers are empty and the prisons are full to bursting, but surely this is just another example of ‘kicking the can down the road’, or, simply turning a blind eye.
I seem to remember reading an article in the Courier a while back that told of the last two persons to lose their heads to the blade of the Halifax Gibbet; and that for the crime of stealing a quantity of cloth - a quantity which I imagine was worth considerably less than £52,000. How times have changed!
So anyone struggling to keep the wolf from the door, and thinking of making a fraudulent benefit claim in the future - you can now feel a bit more secure in your enterprise.
And remember, the person dealing with your claim might be quietly fleecing the system as well. And if you do get caught - well, it won’t be you the criminal that gets suspended, it will only be the sentence that hangs.