A Dundee benefits cheat kept his wife secret in order to con various agencies out of nearly £20,000.
Barry Lowe, 44, failed to declare they were living as husband and wife as he continued to claim a number of different benefits.
Lowe admitted failing to declare a change of circumstances by not telling any of the agencies his wife was contributing to the household income.
Dundee Sheriff Court heard Lowe was living as part of a married couple for more than a year without telling the agencies.
Lowe, of Stracathro Terrace, Broughty Ferry, admitted that between August 1 2016 and November 26 2017 he conned the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) out of £11,574.
He admitted failing to give the DWP prompt notification of a change of circumstances in that he had a wife who was contributing to the household while he claimed Employment Support Allowance.
Lowe also admitted that between August 10 2016 and November 26 2017 he failed to notify Dundee City Council of the same change of circumstances.
He received £5,579 in housing benefit and £856 in council tax he was not entitled to.
21 years to pay back full amount, court hears
Solicitor Doug McConnell, defending, said Lowe was paying the largest sum back at £50 per month and contributing a further £20 to the other amounts.
The court was told it would take him more than 21 years to pay back the full amount he had illegally obtained.
Mr McConnell said: “Given the amounts, a custodial sentence will be in the court’s mind.
“He has difficulty with his health but would do unpaid work as an alternative to custody.
“I doubt he will get into any bother again. He has tried to get this dealt with as soon as possible.”
Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown told Lowe: “The sums are such that a custodial sentence would be an option but it is your first offence. I will follow the recommendation to impose an alternative to custody.”
She placed Lowe on a restriction of liberty order for four and a half months, ordering him to stay indoors between 7pm and 7am each day.