THE creator of children’s TV character Rastamouse avoided prison today for benefits fraud after the judge’s daughter asked him not to jail the author.
Michael de Souza, 64, who wrote the kids’ books about a crime-solving rodent with his reggae band Da Easy Crew, conned the dole out of more than £8,000.
De Souza wrote Rastamouse about a crime-solving rodent who plays with his band Da Easy Crew[/caption]
The cheese-loving rodent went on to be the star of a hit CBeebies show.
Sentencing De Souza today after today, a judge at Southwark Crown Court joked: “Not even Da Easy Crew can get him out of this one.”
De Souza claimed £3,581.90 in Jobseeker’s Allowance and £5,186.12 in housing benefit between January and December 2017, while failing to declare his income from his writing.
Judge Christopher Hehir sentenced De Souza to 160 hours of community service after he admitted the offences.
The judge said: “It is a great shame that a man of your undoubted talents, which I’ve been able to observe for myself through the medium of the TV show Rastamouse, finds himself before the crown court for a matter of this sort.
“I’ve got young children and I used to be a fan of Rastamouse. I did tell my eight-year-old daughter, who was a big fan when she was younger, that Mr De Souza was appearing before me, and she wasn’t keen on a custodial sentence.”
He added: “For the avoidance of doubt, I don’t usually run sentences past my young children.”
De Souza, from Westbourne Park, west London, admitted two charges of dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances between December 2016 and December 2017.
He claimed he had not really faced up to his dole fraud because his writing was such an irregular source of income.
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Trinidad-born De Souza created the musical mouse in 2003 and Rastamouse was turned into a CBeebies TV show in 2011 and is voiced by Reggie Yates.
Rastamouse played music with his band while solving mysteries.
The 52-episode BBC series saw the rodent catch criminals in Mouseland.
He was sentenced to 160 hours community service after pleading guilty[/caption]
Rastamouse was turned into a CBeebies TV show in 2011[/caption]
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