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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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£16,000 benefits fiddle woman spared jail

A Workington mum has been given a suspended jail sentence after she admitted dishonestly claiming benefits worth more than £16,000.

Nichola Katherine Edgar spent just over a year and a half claiming income support, council tax benefit, and housing benefit that she wasn’t entitled to.

West Allerdale Magistrates’ Court in Workington heard that she got into trouble because she failed to tell Allerdale Council that she was “maintaining a common household” with a man called John Huges.

The authorities judged that he was in a position to offer her financial support which would have affected her benefits. But she failed as required to reveal that she was living with him during the period concerned.

The total amount of benefits deemed to have been overpaid during the fraud was £16,350. The Department for Work and Pensions will recover the entire amount.

In court, Edgar, from Ruby Road, Salterbeck, entered guilty pleas to all three benefit fraud offences.

After hearing details of the case, magistrates imposed a 60-day jail term but agreed to suspend it for a year. They said the suspended jail term was justified because of the prolonged period over which the benefits were illegally claimed.

Edgar was represented by KJ Commons defence solicitor Craig Smith.

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