A HADLEIGH man has been jailed for fraud after swindling tens of thousands of pounds in benefits.

Antony Chubb, of Castle Lane, Hadleigh, appeared before Southend Magistrates’ Court, charged with failing to notify Castle Point Council of a change in circumstances he knew would affect his entitlement to housing and council tax benefit.

He was also charged with failing to promptly notify the council of over £25,000 in undeclared income as he and his wife Carole Chubb gave their occupations as self-employed hairdressers when first claiming benefit in 2008.

Investigations by the council’s fraud officers showed the pair raked in an extra £23,607 in overpaid benefits as a result.

Mr Chubb took full responsibility for the fraud and so no charges were made against his wife.

He was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison.

An arrangement will be made to collect the overpayment on his release from custody.

This comes after the Echo reported yesterday that tax dodgers could face hundreds of pounds in extra fines as major changes are being brought in to the way debt is collected.

From April 6, bailiffs will be scrapped in place of enforcement agents who will charge a debtor £75 on receiving a court order from the council to chase unpaid tax.

If the enforcement agents have to visit the debtor they will incur a further charge of £235.

Residents could also receive a £70 penalty if they do not make the council aware of changes in their circumstance which could affect howmuch council tax they have to pay.