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Police raid flat in benefit fraud crackdown
Police raided the flat of a 43 year-old man in The Knares, Basildon, as part of a benefit fraud crackdown.
A MAN was led away by police as they raided his home in a benefit fraud crackdown.
The 43-year-old was still in bed at his flat in The Knares, Basildon, when police came calling at 11am yesterday.
He was arrested on suspicion of benefit fraud following a joint operation between Essex Police, Basildon Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.
The man, who legitimately receives housing benefit and council tax, is accused of illegally claiming additional benefits by using a false identity.
The total value of his deception is not yet known, but it is believed the fraud could provide an extra £7,000 a year.
After failing to answer the front door to officers, they forced entry under a search warrant.
The raid came as Basildon Council promised to crack down on claimants who cheat the system.
Stuart Sullivan, councillor responsible for resources, said: “This is a great example of partnership working with the Department for Work and Pensions and police, and should send a real message to fraudsters that there is no hiding place.
“This is an ongoing and complex case that involves both housing benefit and council tax overpayments, but we are confident of getting a formal charge and a successful prosecution.
“Today’s arrest was to enable us to search the property and gather more evidence for the case, and it is great that we can work with the police to enable us to do this.
“This goes to show that there is nowhere to hide for people looking to commit benefit fraud, and if you are, you could be next in line for a knock on the door and an arrest.
“We will use any means necessary to put together a solid prosecution case, and if that means working in partnership with the police to knock a door down and arrest someone, then so be it.”
The 43 year-old was taken to Basildon police station for questioning and is due to be released on bail.
Officers from the Department for Work and Pensions remained at the flat with police to search for evidence.
PC Kelly White said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Basildon Council and the Department for Work and Pensions. As benefit fraud is mainly investigated by them, people don’t expect the police to come knocking at their door.
“The cases are often very complex and can take a long time to get resolved, but this proves it is something we are taking seriously and cracking down on.”