Benefit cheats punished

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News

TWO WELFARE cheats who live on the same road have both pleaded guilty to falsely claiming benefits worth thousands of pounds.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard how Lisa Williams and Katy Spaughton, who live at different addresses on Springfield Avenue, Shirebrook, failed to declare they were living with employed partners while they claimed income support, housing and council tax benefits.

The women were exposed after a joint investigation by Bolsover District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions discovered they were living with partners in full time employment while claiming benefits as lone parents.

Cllr Duncan McGregor, Bolsover District Council’s cabinet member for corporate resources, said: “This involved a staggering amount of money and these two women should be thoroughly ashamed of what they have done.”

Williams, 30, claimed over £11,800 as a lone parent between August 2009 and April 2011 and Spaughton, 30, claimed over £15,300 as a lone parent between November 2008 and February 2011.

Both pleaded guilty to falsely claiming benefits and they were convicted at Chesterfield magistrates’ under the Social Security Administration Act.

Williams was given a community order to complete 200 hours of unpaid work over the next 12 months and she was ordered to pay £100 in costs at £5 per week and will have to repay the £11,800 in owed benefits.

Spaughton received the same community order as Williams and must also repay her falsely claimed benefits.

Cllr McGregor added: “Investigations such as this do take time, but our residents can rest assured that we are clamping down on this kind of behaviour and the culprits will be punished.”

Anyone who suspects others of committing benefit fraud or has any relevant information are urged to contact Bolsover District Council.

They can telephone the council on (01246) 242444 or they can email fraud@bolsover.gov.uk with details.

jon.cooper@derbyshiretimes.co.uk