A BENEFITS cheat has been fitted with an electronic tag as punishment for claiming thousands of pounds in unemployment support allowance while he worked on a farm.

Paul Wilson, 30, failed to declare his job to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for 18 months between January 2016 and September 2017.

It was originally alleged he claimed £21,180.33 during that period.

But when the Powmill man appeared for sentencing at Alloa Sheriff Court on Thursday, October 24, the charge had been amended to half of that figure.

The court heard last week that the alternative sum was "just below" the threshold to merit consideration of a custodial sentence.

Fiscal depute Susannah Hutchison said Wilson's offence came to light following a DWP investigation last year.

Robert Smith, defending, claimed his client had claimed the money by accident, and was originally unfit for work due to mental health difficulties.

He said: "In January 2016, he took up employment within the poultry industry.

"[The offence] was really inaction on his part, rather than a deliberate attempt to get benefits."

In passing sentence, Sheriff David Mackie said: "This is a serious matter.

"The sum involved is just below the level at which the court has been directed by the high court to give consideration to custodial sentences."

The sheriff then placed Wilson, of Gartwhinzean Road, on a four-month curfew.

No financial penalty was imposed because the court was told Wilson is unemployed, no longer in receipt of benefits, and currently residing with his parents.