A fraudster who ran a gourmet pub that sold £125 champagne truffle burgers is set to be finally kicked out of his council home.
The 61 year old benefits cheat has fought a lengthy legal battle with the council to try and remain in his property in Marston Way, Upper Norwood, say Croydon council.
But on Thursday (June 26th) a judge at Croydon county court gave council officers the green light to evict him.
A Croydon council spokesman said: “The man, jailed for a year in January 2013 for a string of fraud charges, is the former landlord of the Royal Dart Hotel in Devon which was famed for its £125 champagne and truffle beefburger speciality, said to be the most expensive burgers in the world.”
Cllr Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “This has been a long, drawn-out case and it’s a credit to our housing legal and tenancy teams for their determination and hard work in bringing about this eviction.
“We don’t take these decisions lightly, however this was an individual who abused the benefits system and in the process deprived a family in need of a home.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
HOUSING BENEFITS CHEAT ‘SPENT SEVERAL WEEKS IN IRAQ’
A housing benefits cheat spent several weeks in Iraq.
The man, from Bromley, has since pleaded guilty to two charges of making false representations to defraud Bromley council out of £10,857 in housing and council tax benefits for the period September 2011 to December 2013.
A Bromley council spokeswoman said: “Anonymous information received led to an investigation that showed he had failed to declare his true earnings and capital. “He had also failed to inform the council that he had been abroad for a period of time.
“Extensive enquiries regarding his employment status followed and when interviewed under caution, an inspection of his passport revealed he had been in Iraq for several weeks and had only just returned to the UK.
“Earlier this month the man was sentenced at Bromley magistrates court to 10 weeks in prison suspended for 2 years and ordered to pay £550 costs and a £80 victim surcharge. “As well as having a criminal record, he will be required to pay back the whole of the overpayment.
“This case bring the total of Bromley benefit claimants prosecuted to 370 since Bromley and Greenwich councils started working in partnership to track, trace and prosecute benefit fraudsters.
“Anyone with information about a suspected benefit fraud should contact (in strict confidence) the Fraud Hotline on 0800 169 6975 or email [email protected] ” (Source: Bromley council press release)
SUPPLYING EVIDENCE FOR HOUSING BENEFIT OR COUNCIL TAX REDUCTION IN LEWISHAM
From July 2014, it will no longer be possible to supply evidence for housing benefit or council tax reduction at Laurence House in Catford.
A Lewisham council spokesperson said: “The easiest and most convenient way to provide evidence is to use our online form. “This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“For people with no internet access, all libraries in Lewisham provide free internet access on production of a library card. “Jobcentre customers can use the computers and WiFi in local jobcentres.”
If you need assistance to submit your evidence online you can get support from the following places:
Carers Lewisham, Waldram Place, Forest Hill, SE23 2LB, 020 8699 8686 Free use of computers and assistance if needed.Open to all.Friday 10–12.30pm, 1.30–3.30pm
Advice Lewisham, 49A Hatfield Close, New Cross, SE14 5DW, 020 7732 7338 Free use of computers and assistance if needed.Open to all.Friday 10–12noon, 1–3pm
Alternatively, you can still send photocopies of your evidence to:
PO Box 58996
London SE6 9JD (Source: Lewisham council press release)
COUNTERFEIT FOOTWEAR GOING TO ZAMBIA
Hundreds of pounds worth of counterfeit footwear has been donated to a police charity by Southwark council.
The designer ‘knock-offs’ were forfeited to the council by the courts following the successful prosecution of a fraudulent Elephant and Castle market trader under the Trade Marks Act 1994.
The council then agreed to donate all items to the National Police Aid Convoy (NPAC), a charity devoted to providing less fortunate people with clothing, medical equipment and other goods all over the world.
David Scott, a retired Nottinghamshire police inspector and chairman of NPAC, said: “This donation from Southwark council is greatly appreciated and will go to people who are most at need in Zambia.
“We will de-brand the footwear by cutting out labels and logos, pack them in a container and ship them to people who are in desperate need.”
Cllr Michael Situ, cabinet member for community safety, said: “While counterfeit goods have no place on Southwark’s highstreets, once de-branded they will be invaluable to people in great need rather than profit earners for irresponsible traders.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
STAY SAFE IN THE SUMMER SUN
Summer has officially started so Southwark council are calling on residents to stay sun safe – and check on vulnerable people in their communities as temperatures start to rise.
Here are some tips on staying well in the hot weather:
Try to stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its hottest
It’s important to stay hydrated, so drink lots of water or fruit juice
Wear loose, cool clothing and a hat if you go outdoors
Avoid excessive physical activity, or do it in the cooler ends of the day
Wear a high factor sunscreen and reapply throughout the day
If you have any health concerns for yourself or for someone you know, please contact NHS Direct on 111, your GP or pharmacist
Cllr Barrie Hargrove, cabinet member for health, parks and leisure, said: “Whilst many of us will be enjoying the summer sunshine, hopefully in one of our beautiful parks or open spaces, for some the rise in temperature can cause some serious health problems – particularly for people with existing health conditions, very young children or more elderly residents.
“We are asking people to just call in on older neighbours and friends to make sure they are staying cool and healthy, and also taking good care of themselves so they can enjoy the summer sun safely.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
HOUSE CLEARANCE WASTE DUMPED IN CAR PARK
A woman caught on camera dumping house clearance waste at Cotmandene Crescent car park in St Paul’s Cray has been fined £100 following a prosecution by Bromley council.
The woman, from Downham, attended Bromley magistrates court on 4 June where she was also ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge and ordered to pay £500 costs.
A council spokeswoman said that last September, the council’s CCTV camera at Cotmandene car park provided images of two women unloading and dumping waste from the clearance of a house next to the council’s recycle bins.
The woman was identified and prosecuted for the offence under section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Cllr Tim Stevens, executive member for public protection and safety said: “Local residents, through their local councillors, requested CCTV at the Cotmandene Crescent car park to help combat regular dumping of rubbish there.
“I am pleased that council officers are able to bring people to account for their actions and hope this will send out a strong message that will help keep the car park clear of inappropriately dumped rubbish.” (Source: Bromley council pres release).
DUTCH AND DANISH CYCLING EXPERTS HOST TWO-DAY WORKSHOP
Dutch and Danish companies have hosted a two day cycling workshop with Southwark council.
Mobycon and Copenhagenize Design Co, specialists in developing active transport communities across Europe and North America, are working with Southwark as part of a council-wide commitment to improving cycling in the borough.
The event brought together cycling stakeholders from both within the council and local community representatives including Southwark Cyclists, Living Streets and Dulwich Safe Routes.
The sessions were also attended by members of Transport for London, Southwark’s development partners Lend Lease and Better Bankside Business Improvement District.
The workshops centred on planning, policy, design and marketing and education.
A council statement said people attending the workshop discussed innovative ways to improve cycling well beyond the realms of infrastructure but right across council policy – such as via Southwark’s health and wellbeing agenda, economic prosperity programme and regeneration plans – to name a few.
Cllr Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration, planning, and transport, said: “The workshops have been a fantastic opportunity to galvanise ideas and really refresh our thinking about improving cycling in Southwark and building on our work so far.
“Southwark’s vision for cycling goes beyond transport, and is something that we plan to embed across the council.
“It spans all areas of council business which is why every cabinet member is committed to realising this vision.
“It’s going to be a long journey, but I’m confident that with our community partners and the support of our residents, we are on track to significanlty increase cycling and all the benefits that brings.
“We were delighted to welcome experts from Denmark and the Netherlands to our borough to help us make Southwark a cycle friendly borough.
“We are committed to increasing cycling and at the same time making it safer. “We are embarking on a long term project to make this happen, and the advice and guidance of some of the most renowned cycling experts in the world has really helped.”
Mikael Colville Anderson from Copenhagenize Design Co, said: “We think it’s visionary that Southwark is the first borough to work with continental experts to create a more liveable city by taking the bike more seriously as transport.
“The borough has great potential for modernisation regarding transportation.”
Johan Diepens, executive director of MobyCon, said: “The benefits of cycling are immense. “It is not just good for the environment; it also has profound social, health and economic benefits.
“We want to work with Southwark to bring bicycles to the forefront of urban planning and we are confident that the borough has the potential to flourish in this way.”
Alistair Hanton from Southwark Cyclists, said: “It is exciting to discuss so many different angles on how we can make Southwark a better place for cyclists and by better I mean much for cycling and fewer causalities.
“Southwark Cyclists want to work with the borough to make this happen – we want a real partnership.”
(Source: Southwark council press release)