UK & World News
Benefits Fraudster Living In Spain Arrested
A fugitive benefit fraudster exposed by Sky News has been arrested in Spain and is likely to be brought back soon to face justice in Britain.
Norman Brennan, 70, was held at his home in Mijas on the Costa del Sol five years after admitting crimes and jumping bail at Liverpool Crown court.
His ex-pat neighbours had alerted UK authorities to his presence there, but nothing had been done to arrest him until we confronted him three weeks ago.
It's understood Brennan had been receiving his old age pension for most of his time in Spain, even receiving letters from the Department for Work and Pensions in Whitehall.
When four Spanish police officers arrived at his house last night he had just been driven away by a friend and there were fears he had slipped the net.
But they were wating when he returned an hour or so later and took him into custody.
One neighbour said: "About time, too. Several of us have been telling police and officials in the UK exactly where this man has been living, but we have been ignored. And yet we keep reading how the British government is supposed to be clamping down on benefit cheats."
When we told Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith of the scandal earlier this month he described it as "outrageous" and promised to investigate.
Brennan is expected to be taken to Madrid and appear in court there before being extradited to the UK, where he will go back to court to be sentenced.
In 2008 he admitted seven fraud charges after claiming £120,000 in housing and council tax benefit, Jobseekers' Allowance and pension credits.
He had pretended to be his brother Leslie who was living in Germany.
His neighbours in Spain insited that over the past three years they alerted Merseyside Police, the DWP, Crimestoppers, Spanish Police and Sefton Council which prosecuted Brennan.
Crimestoppers said they did pass on information on Brennan to other agencies.
The former joiner bought two adjoining properties beside a gold course when he arrived in Spain several weeks after jumping bail.
When we confronted him three weeks ago he appeared to spend most of his time indoors, emerging occassionally to walk his dog Ben and to drink at a nearby open-air bar.
He refused to discuss his life on the run.