Benefit cheats ordered to pay back money

Aylesbury Magistrates Court sign
Aylesbury Magistrates Court sign

Two people have been ordered to pay more than £5,000 between them after being convicted of benefit fraud.

Stephanie Harper, of Churchway, Haddenham, and Paul Singleton, formerly of Hillier Road, Aylesbury, pleaded guilty at Aylesbury Magistrates Court in separate cases of failing to notify Aylesbury Vale District Council and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) of a change in circumstances that they knew would affect their entitlement to benefits.

Harper, 29, was ordered to pay back £3,292 in income support, housing and council tax benefit after failing to inform the council and the DWP that she was living with a partner, Majid Younis.

She was also sentenced to a 12 month community order of 60 hours unpaid work.

Singleton, 26, also pleaded guilty after failing to tell either the council or DWP that he had commenced paid work.

He will have to pay back £2,501 in employment and support allowance, housing and council tax benefit that he received.

The court fined Singleton a total of £146, and ordered him to pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

District council leader Neil Blake said: “People need to be aware that the council will always prosecute where deliberate fraud is uncovered.

“The council has a responsibility to protect public funds and will continue to take a tough stance on any type of benefit fraud.

“If people are having problems understanding the benefit system, they should talk to the council straight away or speak to one of the advice agencies and get help as quickly as possible.”