A BARNSLEY benefit fraudster who failed to tell the authorities he had inherited more than £30,000 has escaped an immediate prison term. 

David Harrison, 45, inherited £33,236 after the death of his father but failed to tell the Department for Work and Pensions and continued to claim income support, council tax and housing benefit. 

He made his first claim in 1993 and continued to claim until 2009 - receiving £18,623 in benefits. 

Rebecca Stevens, defending Harrison, said it was a particularly tragic case because Mr Harrison’s wife had died when their sons were one and five and he was left to bring them up on his own. 

“He struggled to deal with the death of his partner and when his dad died, all his emotions came flooding back and he didn’t deal very well with either,” she said.

Judge Alan Goldsack QC sentenced him to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for a year and 80 hours of unpaid work for the community.