[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Benefit fraud businessman guilty
Terence Pendleton
Terence Pendleton was allegedly living a champagne lifestyle

A 45-year-old businessman who drove a Rolls Royce while claiming more than 50,000 in benefits has been convicted of fraud.

Terence Pendleton, was convicted of 13 charges relating to benefit fraud by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court.

Undercover investigators filmed him living in a luxury 500,000 house in Knowsley Village, Merseyside.

He claimed he was crippled, depressed, unable to work and living alone in a dingy bedsit in West Derby, Liverpool.

But the court was told he was in fact running a successful business, T&S Tools, selling power tools from New Smithfield market in Manchester.

A jury took less than three hours to return guilty verdicts on 13 charges of benefit fraud dating back to June 1998.

He was found guilty under the Theft Act of 10 counts of false accounting relating to his claims for Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Housing Benefit and Disability Living Allowance in the period 1998 to 2004.

Pendleton was caught lifting boxes
Pendleton, who claimed he was too ill to work, was caught lifting boxes

He was cleared of one count of false accounting dating back to 1996.

Pendleton was also convicted of three counts of failing to give a prompt notification of a change of circumstances relating to where he lived.

Judge Henry Globe QC, the Recorder of Liverpool, told Pendleton he faced a jail term.

He said: "The only sentence available in the light of the jury's verdicts for fraudulent behaviour of this magnitude is a custodial sentence."

Pendleton, who was given conditional bail, will be sentenced on 12 July.

Video shot by investigators showed Pendleton lived in a private road in a house that had electric gates with a Rolls Royce parked outside.

They filmed the lavish interior of his home with bottles of champagne and a collection of expensive wine.

Terence Pendleton's luxury home
Undercover investigators filmed him living in a 500,000 house

In contrast, the place he claimed to be living was sparsely furnished with several tins of beans and spaghetti dated from 1995 and 1996.

The father-of-three, who suffers from arthritis and knee ligament damage, told the court earlier in the trial he had moved into the large house with his partner Susan Kelly and their three children, aged 20, 16 and six, on 7 March but denied living with her before that.

He told the court the couple had enjoyed an "open" relationship with him living alone at his flat and Ms Kelly living with their children in the house.

Pendleton said he had a string of affairs with five other women who he entertained at his bedsit.

Even though he denied living at the large house, Pendleton stressed to the jury that it was not as grand as it seemed.

He also said the Rolls-Royce, which is insured in his name, belonged to his brother.

Benefit cheat's luxury lifestyle
06 Jun 06 |  Merseyside
Benefit fraud team 'ineffective'
25 May 06 |  Northern Ireland

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific