A council housing tenant now living in Leeds who was illegally subletting his Barking property has been fined thousands of pounds.

In January last year, Barking and Dagenham Council officers received information that Jonathan Green was not living in the two-bedroom flat at Colne House which he had obtained in 2019.

Fraud investigators soon established Mr Green’s links to West Yorkshire and it was discovered he had unlawfully secured alternative housing with Wakefield District Council.

Barking and Dagenham Council said when they finally tracked him down and interviewed him under caution, Mr Green admitted he had never moved into Colne House.

At Barkingside Magistrates’ Court last Tuesday - January 18 - Mr Green pleaded guilty to one offence under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 and two offences under the Fraud Act 2006.

He was sentenced to a 12-month community order of 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay a total of £3,695.

This includes a £2,800 unlawful profit order - which represents the profit Mr Green made from subletting the flat - as well as £800 costs to Barking and Dagenham Council and a £95 victim surcharge.

The council said it is taking steps to recover possession of the Colne House property.

Deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for finance, performance and core services, Cllr Dominic Twomey, said: "Council housing stock is in short supply, it is not a right and we have people and families that really need support from us to provide them with a home.

"This individual’s actions have not only prevented someone else from having a home to live in, but he has also illegally earned money out of it.

"This is something that we take very seriously and if we find out someone is doing it, we will find them and take appropriate action - no matter how long it takes."

Visit www.lbbd.gov.uk/reporting-fraud or call 020 8227 2666 for more information or to report suspected fraud.