By James Bryce

A BENEFIT cheat has been sentenced to nine months in prison after renting out his Spanish villa to holidaymakers while claiming income support back home.

Ronald Bunce charged up to €500 per week for the property, complete with swimming pool, in the Mazarron area of Murcia.

He had bought the villa, as well as a €315,000 property in the UK after selling his late mother’s home in 2007 for €440,000.

However he failed to declare the money.

Bunce continued to claim income support and housing and council tax benefit until investigators were alerted by an anonymous tip-off.

“The vast majority of people who claim benefits do so honestly and are sick and tired of putting up with the small minority who do not,” said a spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions.

Benefit fraud abroad is estimated to cost UK taxpayers €54 million per year, with Spain one of the top destinations for benefit thieves.

Email [email protected] or call the benefit fraud hotline on 900 554 440 to report benefit cheats.

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