A WINDOW-cleaner and barman who cheated his way to £1,800 in benefits was snared by a tip-off to City of York Council's benefit fraud hotline.

Gary Scrivener pleaded guilty to the fraud and was sentenced to 50 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £75 of court costs at York Magistrates Court.

Following an anonymous call to the council's fraud hotline, investigations by City of York Council found that Mr Scrivener had not fully declared his work as a window cleaner and barman. This fraudulent activity resulted in him being paid more than £1,800 in housing and council-tax benefit.

City of York Council's audit and fraud manager Max Thomas said: "The council is committed to preventing, detecting and deterring benefit fraud, and is calling on the public to continue to expose benefit cheats."

More than £400,000 in fraudulent overpayments have been identified by City of York Council in the past nine months - a 69 per cent increase on last year.

The team successfully prosecuted 20 people in 2007/08 and sanctioned a further 28 people with formal cautions or financial penalties. This is thanks to the vigilance of the York public who have informed the council about people they suspect are making fraudulent claims.

Mr Thomas said: "We would like to thank all those people who have given us information via the benefit fraud hotline, e-mail address or by letter. All the information that we receive is looked into and, where we suspect that fraud is being committed, we will investigate it.

"We would encourage anyone with information to report it via the hotline on 01904-552935 or email address benefit.fraud@york.gov.uk. We take all information given very seriously and will protect the identity of anyone who contacts us."