A man who falsely claimed more than £15,500 benefits narrowly escaped imprisonment at Jedburgh Sheriff Court.
Glen Miller, of Allars Bank, was sentenced to a 12-month Community Payback Order with 240 hours of unpaid work.
The 55-year-old failed to declare self-employment income at Falside Cottages, Southdean, between July 2009 and December 2010, and received £15,161 Jobseeker’s Allowance and £712 income support, to which he was not entitled.
The court heard how Miller failed to disclose income through breeding and selling dogs. “He was making income from the sale of dogs which were being bred, and he didn’t disclose that,” explained procurator fiscal Graham Fraser.
Defence solicitor Ross Dow told the court his client’s former partner was “principally involved in the breeding of the dogs.
“It started as a hobby and became more substantial,” said Mr Dow.
“He was naive at the outset and didn’t realise how much money was coming in to the household.
“He now has a new partner,” he added.
Sheriff Derrick McIntyre warned Miller the substantial sum involved had put him on the threshold of custody.
“You do not have much of a record, and the report before me is positive, so I am prepared to give you the alternative to custody,” he told Miller.
“You are close to the custody threshold, as this was a substantial sum,” he added.