A FORMER Chepstow pub landlord has been given a suspended jail sentence for obtaining more than £25,500 in

benefit fraud.

Appearing at Newport Magistrates Court on Friday 27th February, Ian Meyrick was given an 18 month jail term, suspended for one year, after the court heard how he had failed to disclose owning an £80,000 investment bond when claiming housing and council tax benefits.

Meyrick, now living at Tilt Road, Cobham, Surrey, previously ran The Coach and Horses in Chepstow and won a number of Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) awards.

Mr Gary Driscoll, representing Meyrick, told the court of the defendant's background.

Having worked for most of his life as a miner – beginning in Pontypridd before moving to a variety of African countries – Meyrick had a number of related health problems, including dust on the lungs from his time coal mining in Wales.

He claimed for benefits in 2009 after falling and breaking his leg in five places, making it difficult to work.

Payments included more than £21,000 in housing benefits and almost £4,000 in council benefits, totalling £25,572.66.

When applying for benefits, Meyrick didn't declare the five-year investment bond, saying that he didn't think it was relevant because he could not access any of the money in it without incurring heavy charges and significant amounts of paperwork.

Meyrick did correctly declare £5,000 held in a savings account.

Mr Driscoll summed up by saying that Meyrick is "not the sort of man that will ever come before this court again," and that he "made a mistake in his life".

Mr Gealy, representing Monmouthshire County Council, said that Meyrick has currently agreed to a repayment schedule of £5 per month.

After pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity, Meyrick was handed the above sentence and told to pay court costs of £165.