A former Wigan miner has been given a community order for claiming £10,000 of jobseekers’ benefits whilst taking his pit pension.
Anton Jablonski, of Woodcock House in Scholes, admitted failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions when his miner’s pension kicked in.
The 54-year-old, who worked in Wigan’s mines for 12 years, was given a 16-week curfew after pleading guilty at the magistrates’ court during a hearing this week.
Kevin Liston, defending, said Jablonski has suffered with depression and problems with alcohol ever since the mines closed, leaving him redundant in the early 1990s.
“He was left out of a job due to pit closures,” he said. “The impact of that loss of employment left him with issues mentally.
“After this he turned to alcohol. It’s been a prevalent factor in his existence.”
The court heard how Jablonski’s service to the coal mines had entitled him to a “pit pension”, which started when he turned 51.
The out-of-work miner had, however, started a jobseeker’s claim back in 1992 – when he first lost his job.
As he was on Employment Support Allowance, Jablonski was obliged to inform the DWP when his pension began to be paid in 2015.
However, after “not initially making them aware”, Mr Liston explained that the situation for his client “snowballed” out of control.
“Because of his service to the country for 12 years, he was entitled to his pension at 51,” he added.
“Having received that payment and failing to act, the matters then build up.
“He was unable to tell them after that.
“To his credit he has already started to make voluntary payments.
“Having made the mistake he has pleaded guilty and is making payments.”
Magistrates heard how Jablonski who was described as a “single person, unfit to work”, is receiving mental health help and help for dealing with alcohol addiction.
Prosecuting, Katie Beattie told the court that Jablonski owed £10,891 to the DWP by the time they caught up with him.
Following an early guilty plea, he was sentenced to a 16-week curfew and ordered to stay in the house between 7pm and 7am each night .
He was also ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge totalling £185.