A MAN who claimed his wife was his landlady so he could falsely claim over £11,000 in benefits has narrowly escaped prison.

Wayne Saxton, 52, of Cross Street, Barugh Green was investigated by the council’s Benefit Investigation Team after he submitted numerous claim forms and documents claiming his wife was his landlady who lived out of the area.

He appeared before the courts after being interviewed by police.

A spokesman said: "Barnsley Council believed that the tenancy between Mr Saxton and the woman had been created to claim housing benefit falsely and that Mr Saxton had no liability to pay rent.

"The court was told that Mr Saxton knowingly concealed his marriage to the woman at Gretna Green in November 2009, and had claimed housing benefit totalling £11,437.97, for the period June 2009 to April 2012, to which he was not entitled."

Mr Saxton was ordered to serve 13 weeks’ imprisonment on each offence, to run concurrently, suspended for 18 months.

He was made the subject of a Community Order with an 18 months’ supervision requirement, and a 20-week curfew requirement to be restricted to his home address every night between 9pm and 6am.

He was also ordered to pay court costs of £300.