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Last Updated: Friday, 28 July 2006, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Benefit fraud businessman jailed
Terence Pendleton
Terence Pendleton was allegedly living a champagne lifestyle

A businessman who lived a "champagne lifestyle" while claiming more than 50,000 in benefits has been jailed for 27 months at Liverpool Crown Court.

Terence Pendleton, 46, was convicted of 13 charges relating to benefit fraud last month.

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.

The court heard he was in fact running a successful business, T&S Tools, selling power tools from New Smithfield Market in Manchester.

Terence Pendleton's luxury home
Undercover investigators filmed him living in a 500,000 house
He also drove a Rolls Royce and kept peacocks roaming in his garden.

Pendleton was sentenced to nine months imprisonment for exaggerating the extent of his physical disabilities, nine months for failing to declare that he was working and nine months for failing to declare that he was living with his partner.

The three sentences will run consecutively.

The charges relate to incidents dating from 1998 to 2004.

The father-of-three was cleared of one count of false accounting dating back to 1996.

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

Pendleton was caught lifting boxes
Pendleton, who claimed he was too ill to work, was caught lifting boxes
They filmed the lavish interior of his home with bottles of champagne and a collection of expensive wine.

During his trial he told the court he had moved into the large house in Knowsley with his partner Susan Kelly and their three children, aged 20, 16 and six, on 7 March.

He denied living with her before that, saying they 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.

He also stressed to the jury that the Knowsley house was not as grand as it seemed, and that the Rolls-Royce, which is insured in his name, belonged to his brother.

At this late stage of the proceedings, people repaying what they should never have received can only have a limited effect
Judge Henry Globe QC
Sentencing him Judge Henry Globe QC, the Recorder of Liverpool, said: "You have attempted to minimise that standard of living but the vintage bottles of chateau wine and the designer clothes were distinctive features that suggested otherwise."

Pendleton has paid back at least half of the falsely claimed benefits to the Department for Work and Pensions and provided cheques in court on Friday to cover the balance.

Judge Globe said the repayments at such a late stage were worth little as mitigation.

He said: "It must be understood that, at this late stage of the proceedings, people repaying what they should never have received can only have a limited effect on limiting the sentence.

"Otherwise, people would be able to buy themselves out of trouble only when they are caught."

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

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