A MAN told a court he accidentally claimed more than £1,000 illegally.
Huddersfield magistrates heard that Leon James, 31, of White Hart Drive, Newsome, stopped claiming his jobseeker's allowance in August last year, when he got a job.
But he did not tell Kirklees Council about the change in his circumstances.
He carried on claiming housing and council tax benefits until November, 2003, receiving a total of £1,203.77.
James, who represented himself, said he never actually lived in the house he was claiming benefit for, in Gelder Terrace, Moldgreen.
Instead, he moved in with his sister.
He said he thought that when he stopped his jobseeker's allowance the other payments would also stop.
Kirklees believed James was living in the house and it remained empty.
Prosecutor Carol Holberry said James was given four chances to meet council officials in January and February this year.
But he failed to turn up for any of the planned meetings.
She added: "He also failed to attend a hearing before today.
"When people start to claim these benefits it is made very clear they need to tell about changes in circumstances," added Ms Holberry.
Magistrate Eileen Marchant said James, who pleaded not guilty to failing to notify a change of circumstances, may not have made any financial gain, but he would still have to pay.
She added: "I understand you were not living in the property at the time and did not make any money from this.
"You have been incredibly slack, but not criminal. It got to the point where the council had to bring this to court to get it sorted out."
James was given a one- year conditional discharge and ordered to pay the money he owed and £150 in court costs.