Magistrates say benefit cheat who narrowly avoided jail is “a very lucky man”

Benefit Fraud graphicFather-of-two, Ben Lally, 27, from Thorpe Astley, who dishonestly claimed nearly £10,000 from Blaby District Council over 3 ½ years, has narrowly avoided jail.

Ben Lally was sentenced at Leicester Magistrates Court 6th March 2015, having pleaded Guilty to 9 charges of benefit fraud at an earlier hearing.

Between June 2010 and March 2014, Lally falsely claimed £7,421.06 in Housing Benefit, £1,381.82 Council Tax Benefit and a further £681.51 in Council Tax Support. During that time, he under declared his earnings and provided counterfeit pay slips, forged letters & certificates of earnings from his employer.

Magistrates stated

“Mr Lally you are a very lucky man today. There can be no doubt of the planning and sophistication of the offending. The only thing in your favour was that it was not false from the outset.”

“You do not have any previous convictions for dishonesty; you also show very apparent remorse. You were diagnosed at a young age with a debilitating disease and started to panic.

“You are the sole earner for your wife and two small children; you get a full 1/3 credit for your guilty plea.”

“We therefore sentence you to 26 weeks custody, the maximum available sentence in this court, which we wholly suspend for the maximum period of 2 years.

“There is one requirement, which is for you to complete 150 hours of unpaid work within 12 months. You will pay a victim surcharge of £80 and the costs of the prosecution in full of £1,374.40, at £50pcm, a Collection Order will also be imposed.”

Mr Lally was warned that the Court costs were a priority debt. Magistrates again stated they could not stress how lucky he had been, the offence is so serious that custody was the only option.

Councillor Terry Richardson, Finance and Efficiency portfolio holder at Blaby District Council, said:

“Not only has Mr Lally got to repay all the stolen monies, he now has a criminal record and court costs to pay. It is extremely important that people claiming benefit tell us about any change in their circumstances. We will always take action against people who try to abuse the system.

“Those who are claiming money they are not entitled to should be prepared to face the consequences”.

If you have any information relating to benefit fraud, please call Blaby District Council’s 24 hour confidential benefit fraud hotline on 0116 2727733 or complete the online benefit fraud allegation form at

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Enderby motorcycle among motorbikes recovered as part of Operation Tiger

Police CarThree motorbikes have been recovered by officers in Braunstone during Operation Tiger’s intensive two weeks of action which launched last week (14 March).

Officers from West Leicester Neighbourhood Policing Area have been cracking down on the illegal use of motorbikes, as it is a priority for the area following concerns raised by residents.

Two burnt out motorbikes were discovered whilst officers were on foot patrol in Braunstone and officers believe they may have been stolen.

One bike is believed to have been stolen from the Meridian Business Park in August 2014. The other is believed to have been taken from a property in Cowdall Road on March 7, 2015.

A further motorbike, believed to have been stolen from Enderby on 24 March, was recovered by officers on Braunstone Park, after receiving a call from a member of the public.

As part of the crackdown officers have visited local schools to educate pupils on the dangers of riding motorbikes illegally and the anti-social behaviour associated with it. Posters and information leaflets have also been distributed encouraging people to report nuisance or stolen motorbikes.

Sergeant Stephen Brown, from West Leicester NPA, said:

“Nuisance motorbikes can cause a great deal of distress to the community and by us cracking down on this type of anti-social behaviour shows that we are taking this seriously.

“I am really pleased that during this phase of Operation Tiger we have managed to recover three motorbikes. It is also reassuring to know that since the start of the operation we have seen a reduction in the number of motorbike related incidents being reported to us.

He added:

“The main focus for us during the operation was to tackle our ongoing priority of illegal use of motorbikes. Motorbike thefts and off-road bikes being ridden illegally in the area, particularly in Braunstone and New Parks, has been causing problems for our residents.

“We are still really interested in where stolen motorbikes are being stored and who is riding them, so if you know, please get in touch.”

Officers are encouraging anyone with any concerns about motorbikes causing a nuisance in the area to contact the police on 101 or to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Three arrested and bailed following death of man in Wigston

Photo: Mark Cookson

Mark Cookson

Police have arrested a third person following the death of a man in Wigston.

The 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and has been questioned by detectives.

A 20-year-old man and a 49-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of the same offence on Monday 30 March.

All three people have since been bailed pending further enquiries.

Officers were called to a property in Leicester Road at about 8.15pm last Wednesday (25 March) where the body of 42-year-old Mark Cookson was found.

A post-mortem examination concluded that he died as result of a head injury which is believed to have been sustained on the weekend of Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 March.

A picture of Mr Cookson has been released and officers would like to speak to anyone who saw him in the area around Asquith Boulevard and Wigston town centre, between 6pm and 8pm on the Sunday evening.

Detectives are particularly keen to speak to a motorist who is believed to have stopped in Welford Road, near to the junction with Hillcrest Road, and spoke to Mr Cookson and a woman at about 6.30pm that night.

This man is believed to be in his 50s and was driving a blue car along Welford Road towards the city.

If you think you saw Mr Cookson on the Sunday evening or were the man in the blue car, call 101 quoting incident number 590 of 25 March 2015.

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Grants available for community groups in Blaby District

077-commbus-project-community-transport-in-blaby-districtCommunity groups or organisations providing services in Blaby District, may be eligible to apply for a grant from the Council.

There are three types of grant available to help develop or improve services for local people – Capital Grants up to £5000, Revenue Grants up to £750, and Staying Healthy Grants up to £1000.

Each grant is designed to help with different costs such as building works, equipment purchase, venue or transport costs or one-off special events. We can provide advice on which grant is most suitable for your group or organisation’s needs.

The last round of grants awarded a total of £29,382 and successful applicants included Coping with Cancer, St Andrews Church & The Foxes Archery Club.

Applications for community grants are accepted three times a year and the next deadline is Friday 29th May 2015, 12.30pm.

Groups that have received a grant within the last two years are not eligible to apply and priority will be given to groups who are new to apply and focus on the Council’s key objectives of Economy & Skills, Health & Wellbeing & Homes & Communities

For more information and to request an application pack, please contact the Grants Co-ordinator at or call 0116 272 7718. Details of the grants programmes can also be found at

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Leicestershire Ladies County Bowling Association Fundraise for Vista

Vista LLIBC PhotoThe county ladies bowling group has raised £380 on behalf of local sight loss charity Vista.

Ingrid Turner, President of the Leicestershire Ladies County Indoor Bowling Association, organised a fundraising event which involved all the ladies dressing up as St Trinian’s characters.

Ingrid, who has been playing for the county for the last four years, said:

“President’s Day is always a fundraising event and my chosen charity this year was Vista. We had great fun and it was enormously enjoyed by all.”

“As well as dressing up, we also had a raffle, which proved to be very popular and helped to raise the majority of our money.”

The indoor bowling association is based around six local clubs in Leicestershire.

Ingrid’s club is Carlton, based at Enderby Leisure Centre, and there are also clubs at Barwell, Charnwood (Loughborough), Church Gresley, Leicester and Melton.

LLICBA Fundraising Photo

If you are interested in fundraising for Vista, please get in touch with the Fundraising Team on 0116 249 8807 or

For more information about Vista, please visit

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