A BENEFIT cheat must pay back nearly £10,000 of Housing and Council Tax benefit, he swindled out of Basildon tax payers.

Dean Dickens, 36, of Lorrimore Close, Billericay, pleaded guilty to failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting his entitlement to benefits between January 1 2010 and October 24, 2013.

Dickens was given a 12 month Community Order and must carry out 60 hours unpaid work.

Overpayments to Dickens totalled £9,261.54 including Housing Benefit overpayments of £6,796.39 and Council Tax benefits of £2,465.15 from January 1 2010 and October 24, 2013.

He must now pay back all the cash.

The overpayments arose because Dickens had £18,000 in undeclared bank accounts.

Councillor Stuart Sullivan, cabinet member for resources, said: “Although on this occasion the defendant pleaded guilty it does not detract from the fact he was falsely claiming from the public purse.

“Benefit fraud is against the law and cheats will be forced to face the consequences.”