Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
School bus driver fraudulently claimed benefits
A SCHOOL bus driver fraudulently claimed benefits, a court heard today (Thursday February 28).
Andrew Bulch, of Ravensworth Avenue, Bishop Auckland, legitimately claimed benefits during school holidays but carried on claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA), council tax benefit and housing benefit after returning to work.
Bulch, 33, fraudulently claimed £1,746.83 between September 5, 2011, and January 22, 2012, after failing to notify the authorities that he was in work as a driver for the Macdonald Travel company.
He pleaded guilty to two charges of falsely making a statement to obtain a benefit when he appeared at Darlington Magistrates’ Court today. He was made to pay £100 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. He had already repaid the overpaid benefits.
Ben Pegman, mitigating, said: “Mr Bulch is thoroughly ashamed, embarrassed and remorseful to be in court today.
"The point in question came at a very difficult time for him. His marriage was breaking up and he was moving out of his marital home. Finances were very difficult.
"When he returned to work, he should have come off benefits but he did not and he has paid a high price. He was in emotional turmoil and made a costly mistake.”