A MAN who made a claim for pension credit kept quiet about a £34,500 inheritance, a court heard.

Peter May, 63, told the Department for Work and Pensions he and his wife had amounts of £10,500, £1,500 and £300 in the bank, but didn’t declare the £34,500 which was in his wife’s Halifax account and said they had no other savings, Burnley magistrates were told.

May, who made the claim to the DWP over the telephone, got more than £5,600 which he wasn’t entitled to.

The defendant, who had lost his job through a stress-related illness and is now suffering from prostate cancer, admitted dishonestly making a false statement to obtain benefit, on or about April 26, 2011.

May, of Dales View Park, Salterforth, was fined £180, with a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs. The Bench chairman told May, who had no previous convictions: “We do consider it was inadvertent, rather than a deliberately planned fraud.”

Andrew Robinson, prosec-uting, said May was overpaid £5,671. The amount repaid by March 17 was £252.

Keith Rennison, for May, said his wife had inherited the money after the death of her mother and there was an understanding it was not to be used ‘willy nilly’. It was an emergency fund for the family, in particular for grand-children, nephews and nieces.

The solicitor said: “It was a pot of money for the wider family, for wedding, university fees and deposits for houses. It wasn’t a pot of money that they considered to be theirs.”

Mr Rennison said May had recently been diagnosed with cancer, would be having eight weeks of radiotherapy at St James Hospital in Leeds in May and he and his wife would be staying there during that time.

He said: “They want to put this behind them and move on. The lost of the defendant’s good character is in itself a punishment for his family.”

The solicitor added £18 to £20 was now being deducted from the Mays’ pension credit towards the overpayment.