Worksop: Benefits cheat claimed more than £8,500

Mansfield Magistrates Court.
Mansfield Magistrates Court.

A Worksop benefits cheat claimed more than £8,500 over a two-year period after she lied about breaking-up with her partner.

April Paget, of John Street, claimed income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit from January 2013.

Paget’s original claim was based on her telling the authorities that her relationship with her partner Ashley Miller had broken down, that they were no longer living together and that she was a single parent.

However, in January 2013, she made a joint application for housing with Mr Miller and a subsequent investigation revealed that she had been living with her partner throughout the period of claim.

As a result, she faced two charges of failing to notify Bassetlaw District Council of changes in her circumstances that she knew would affect her benefits.

Kevin Dukes, cabinet member for co-operatives and corporate cervices, said: “The benefits system exists to help those in genuine need and who are entitled to support, not to subsidise people who simply wish to defraud the taxpayer.”

“This case proves that we will investigate claims we believe are suspicious and will pursue benefit cheats through the courts and bring them to justice.”

The defendant failed to appear at three scheduled hearings at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court and, although Paget denied the allegations at interview, the magistrates felt that there was sufficient evidence and found the defendant guilty.

The magistrates imposed a 12-month community order, a 12-month supervision order and a six-month drugs rehabilitation order. Paget was also ordered to pay £150 towards prosecution costs and a £60 victim surcharge, in addition to the money that was falsely claimed.