A BENEFITS cheat who conned the taxpayer out of £42,000 after lying about his savings and investments has been slammed by a judge.

Anthony Jones, 66, from Pontypool was told that Britain is “nearly bankrupt” and that he had falsely claimed “scarce public money” he wasn’t entitled to.

Anisha Rai, prosecuting, said the defendant had scammed the system while having between £42,000 and £61,000 in two bank accounts.

He had fraudulently benefited by £35,600.34 from Employment and Support Allowance payments and £6,437.51 in council tax reductions.

Jones’ offending went on between January 4, 2017 and September 10, 2023 before he was caught, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

The defendant, of Grosvenor Place, Sebastopol, admitted two counts of fraud.

Jones, represented by his barrister Daniel Jones, had pleaded guilty in the magistrates’ court and is “a man of effective good character”.

The court was told the defendant has started repaying the total loss to the state of £42,037.85 and wants to pay it all back in full immediately.

A hearing is due to take place later this week to make those arrangements.

Judge Niclas Parry said it was this and the fact he has an aunt suffering from cancer that he cares for that is keeping him out of prison.

He told Jones: “This country is nearly bankrupt and public funds are scarcer than they have ever been.

“There are people in dire need and the funding available is to assist those people.

“Fraudulent activity means that those who are not in need get money they are not entitled to.

“That is why this is so serious.

“You were sitting on thousands of pounds while you were receiving scarce public money and this is why this has to be marked by a custodial sentence in order to make people think twice.”

The defendant was jailed for 15 months which was suspended for two years.

Jones was made the subject of a five-month curfew.