A MAN who defrauded a scheme for the most needy has been given a community punishment.

Paul Garratt, 49, cheated his way to a cooker and fridge freezer he didn't need from the York financial Assistance Scheme and then disposed of them, York magistrates heard.

His solicitor Steve Munro said he had been desperate because his benefits had been stopped for seven weeks.

He has had four operations on his ankle since breaking it in 2016 and is expecting to have an ankle brace fitted to it later this year.

Garratt, of Jackson Street, York, pleaded guilty to fraud and was given a 12-month community order with 10 days' rehabilitative activities. He must also pay City of York Council the £375 value of the cooker and fridge freezer he got through the scheme.

Cllr Helen Douglas, executive member with responsibility for fraud, said: “Fraudulent claims of the York Financial Assistance Scheme can deprive residents of much-needed funds and can affect our ability to support people who ask the scheme for help.

“I hope this prosecution will serve as a reminder to those who are thinking of committing such an act, that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated.

"We encourage anyone with any information on fraudulent activity to phone the fraud hotline on 0800 9179 247 or email fraud@york.gov.uk .”