A FATHER-of-six from Droitwich was paid £25,000 in falsely claimed benefits despite having more than £83,000 in his bank, Worcester Crown Court was told.

Benefit could not be claimed by anyone having assets of more than £16,000 explained prosecutor David Iles.

When 51-year-old Terence Loveridge was confronted by inspectors about his claims, he said: "Oh my god, I've won the lottery." He went on to maintain it was a computer error.

Loveridge, of Doverdale Park Homes, Hampton Lovett, near Droitwich, has paid back the global bill of just over £25,430.

He had pleaded guilty just before trial last week to making false claims for job seeker's benefit, housing allowance and council tax credit.

He was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 250 hours unpaid work and pay £2,500 costs

Mr Iles said false claims were made between April 2009 and July 2012. A check showed that Loveridge had £83,500 in one account. In July 2012 £50,874 was withdrawn from one account leaving a zero balance. No-one knew where the money had gone.

Loveridge claimed that he cash was owed to his mother-in-law to pay for a mobile home to replace the family's present caravan. The money was "pre-spent."

Danny Smith, mitigating, said Loveridge had no previous convictions and had six children aged between four and 13 years old. Two of them were classed as disabled and he wanted to continue to provide for his family. They had limited funds and were often helped out by family and friends.

He suggested a suspended sentence because imprisonment would have a devastating effect on the family.

Judge Richard Rundell said he was satisfied that Loveridge had made declarations for benefit knowing full well that he had in excess of £16,000 in his bank accounts.

He did not accept that £50,000 was held in trust for his mother-in-law. The fact that £50,000 was transferred from his account two days before his interview with inspectors was an indication of his dishonesty.