Benefit cheat’s costly offence

A WELFARE cheat has been ordered to pay back over £18,000 worth of falsely claimed benefits.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard how Tracey Hayward, 48, of Church Drive, Shirebrook, falsely claimed income support, housing and council tax benefits as a single parent despite moving back in with her partner.

Bolsover District Cllr Duncan McGregor, cabinet member for corporate efficiencies, said: “This case stems back to 2008 and that’s nearly three years where the defendant was claiming money that was not rightfully hers and money that could have helped someone actually in need.”

Hayward was prosecuted under the Social Security Administration Act after a joint investigation was launched by Bolsover District Council and the Government’s Department for Works and Pensions.

She pleaded guilty to failing to declare that she had returned to live with a partner in June 2008 while continuing to claim benefits as a single parent at her former, privately rented address.

Cllr McGregor added: “She had every opportunity to give us the right information and stop claiming, but people think they can get away with it.

“We are telling you that you won’t and we will have no hesitation in taking the strongest course of action against those who continue to flout the law.”

Hayward was given a 12-month community order to complete 160 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay £100 in legal costs and to pay back over £18,000 in falsely claimed benefits.

Anyone with information about others suspected of committing benefit fraud are urged to call Bolsover District Council on (01246) 242444 or email fraud@bolsover.gov.uk.

jon.cooper@derbyshiretimes.co.uk