Fenland man who failed to declare �43k insurance payout after fire blew �20k on online gambling, court told

A MAN who escaped a fire which devastated his home blew more than �20,000 of the insurance payout on online gambling and spread betting.

David Paine, 54, of High Road, Wisbech St Mary, was left with damage to his lungs after a blaze destroyed his bungalow in Garden Lane, Wisbech St Mary, in January 2006.

Roger Glazebrook, mitigating solicitor, said Paine and his wife were “very lucky” to escape the blaze, which started when an electric toy helicopter caught alight while charging.

The pair - who were in bed when the fire started - have been unable to work since after suffering health-related issues as a result of the blaze.

Hannah Edwards, prosecuting, said Paine had failed to declare the �43,000 insurance payout the couple received in 2008 to Fenland District Council.

The court were also told that Paine had failed to inform the council about owning a ‘parcel of land’ known as ‘Pinewood’ in Garden Lane.

He pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to declare a notifiable change of circumstances and failure to notify the council about the ‘parcel of land’.

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Paine - who pockets �152 a fortnight in incapacity benefit - is already repaying �186 a month of the more than �10,000 he raked in as a result of failing to notify FDC on the two counts, the court heard.

Mr Glazebrook said Paine didn’t realise he had to declare the insurance payout because he thought it would solely be used for the rebuilding of the bungalow at the site in Garden Lane.

He also admitted that Paine had “got into” online gambling after the fire but would be unable to complete any unpaid work as a result of his fire-related lung condition.

Peter Waterfield, chairman of the bench, said: “I think we’re all in agreement when you received the insurance payout that you thought it was to rebuild your home.

“The first thought wouldn’t be to tell the council, even though you were receiving benefits, so we will give you credit for that.”

Paine was granted a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay �100 costs.

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