On 6 December 2017, Mr Anthony Darnell (61) of Sharman Way, Spalding, Lincs, appeared before Peterborough Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to two offences under the Housing Act 1996, in a case brought by Huntingdonshire District Council.

Mr Darnell pleaded guilty to knowingly making false statements and knowingly withholding information from the council that would have affected his application for housing. Following concerns raised by the council’s Housing Team, the Corporate Fraud Team carried out an investigation into Mr Darnell’s housing application and his current address. Mr Darnell had advised the Housing Team that he was living at Sharman Way on a temporary basis, as his normal residence had a mouse infestation and was also not big enough for his needs.

Mr Darnell also provided the council with an old report from his occupational therapist, in an attempt to gain a larger property. He made calls to the council stating the move to Sharman Way was only temporary and that it wasn’t his permanent residence. He had completed a mutual exchange to Sharman Way in February 2015, which he had failed to disclose to the council. This move had been agreed and supported by his occupational therapist and that, in her opinion, he was now adequately housed.

In mitigation, Mr Darnell said he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and thought his actions were reckless rather than dishonest. He did not believe his current accommodation was adequate. Mr Darnell was fined £120, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and the council’s costs of £400.

Cllr Jonathan Gray, Executive Councillor for Strategic Resources, said: "The council’s Housing Team and Fraud Team work closely together to make sure that only people who are entitled to housing are allocated it. If you know someone who has failed to disclose all relevant information, or is making a fraudulent application, please contact the Fraud Team."

Please remember it’s your money and services that are being stolen when someone is defrauding the council. You can report fraud by calling our confidential ‘fraud hotline’ on 01480 388188, via the website or by emailing fraud@huntsdc.gcsx.gov.uk.

Please leave as much information as possible to ensure we are aware of the full facts before an investigation starts. All reports will be looked into, but we cannot provide any information about the outcome of individual investigations.