Benefits fraudster who fled to Costa del Sol jailed for three years


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The Independent Online

A benefits fraudster who fled to the Costa del Sol ahead of sentencing in 2008 has been jailed for three years.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith labelled it  “outrageous” that 70-year-old Norman Brennan had been in Spain for five years, and vowed to bring the pensioner back to face justice.

Mr Brennan had claimed £120,000 in various benefits. Some of the benefits were claimed in the name of his brother, Leslie, who had lived in Germany for nearly three decades.

Brennan, formerly of Netherton, was given bail when sentencing was adjourned in July 2008 but gave authorities the slip and left the country.

Last month, Sky News tracked down Brennan to the Spanish village of Mijas Costas, and asked him if he thought he should be in the UK.

"No," was Brennan's response.

Mr Duncan Smith told the news channel: "I'm astonished. I'll certainly take this case away, and I know that I have myself fraud investigators who are out in Spain already.

"So, what we'll do is we'll check this case, and I can promise you that if they haven't done enough, they will now do their level best to get this man back.

"This sort of case is outrageous, and I'll deal with it."

Weeks later Brennan was detained on a European Arrest Warrant and extradited to Britain.

Sentencing him today at Liverpool Crown Court, Judge David Aubrey QC told him: "The law has finally caught up with you."