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Inheritor fined for benefit claim

A LERWICK man who falsely claimed over £10,000 in benefits after inheriting £340,000 of property has been fined £700.

John Smith, 55, of the town’s Lovers Loan, previously admitted the fraud and had paid back the £10,679.98 of employment and support allowance in full.

He had continued to claim the benefit between 22 March 2016 and 30 August 2017 without declaring the three properties worth an estimated £340,00 he had fallen heir to.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard that Smith now owned a house in the North Mainland, one in the South Mainland and two flats in Lerwick that he rented out for £400 a month.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said that as Smith had “substantial capital” tied up in the properties, it was appropriate to impose a financial penalty. He reduced a fine of £1,000 to £700 to reflect the fact Smith had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.