Bentley-driving landlord who served 'world's most expensive burger' while claiming benefits evicted from council flat
A Bentley-driving benefits cheat who sold £125 champagne and truffle burgers in his gourmet gastropub while claiming thousands of pounds in handouts is finally set to be evicted from his council flat.
Stephen Sussams, 61, fought to stay in his home in Marston Way, Upper Norwood, after his jail term for fraudulently claiming £14,625 in housing and council tax benefit and £17,600 in fees for caring for a dead man.
Sussams was jailed for a year for a year at Croydon Crown Court in January last year after his scam was exposed by council investigators, who learned he lived a lavish lifestyle and owned a secluded hilltop villa in Spain while claiming benefits in Croydon.
He had hidden his role as landlord of the Royal Dart, a pub in Devon that claimed to sell the world's most expensive burger, from the council to allow him to claim.
Sussams also withdrew £17,600 in care payments mistakenly paid by the council into the bank account of Keith Dickenson, a friend of Sussams, after he died in August 2008.
He was found he was found guilty of theft, dishonestly making a false statement or representation, and three counts of fraud by failing to disclose information in December 2012.
Sussams spent six months in prison before returning to his council flat, from which he insisted he should not be evicted.
He told the Croydon Guardian in November: "They have taken me to court and I have done my time in prison. All I would say is, how many times do I need to be punished?
"It seems pointless to evict me because they will have to rehouse me anyway."
But a judge Croydon County Court ruled the council could evict Sussams, who must leave in the next few weeks.
Councillor Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: "This has been a long, drawn-out case and it’s a credit to our housing legal and tenancy teams for their determination and hard work in bringing about this eviction.
"We don’t take these decisions lightly, however this was an individual who abused the benefits system and in the process deprived a family in need of a home.
"The council’s housing service will always take a hard line against those that try and cheat the system."