A BENEFITS cheat continued to claim thousands despite winning £250,000 on a Lottery scratchcard.

Andrew Crossthwaite, 23, of Mersey Street, Longridge, won the six-figure sum on June 25, 2010, but raked in £4,614 in Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for himself, his partner and child until January 20.

He told the authorities he was incapable of work due to an alcohol abuse problem.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said Crossthwaite now had nothing left of the Lottery win, having blown the money on cars, drugs, and gifts to friends.

Crossthwaite pleaded guilty to failing to notify the authorities of a change in his circumstances at Preston Magistrates Court.

DWP Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud, said: “When people receive benefits from us they enter into a contract to tell us of any change in their circumstances.

“Deliberately not doing so is a crime and takes valuable funds from those who need them the most.

“At best they will have to repay us all the money they have taken, at worst they will end up a criminal and in the pages of a newspaper.”

Two other charges of wrongfully claiming council tax benefit and housing benefit following the win were withdrawn.

Crossthwaite was placed on a one-year supervision order, with 36 hours at an attendance centre, The court also told him to pay £100 costs.