Benefit cheat mum escapes jail

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A BENEFITS cheat who dishonestly siphoned off almost £10,000 from the public purse has been handed a community order and ordered to pay the money back.

Jay Medley was overpaid £9,301.45 between September 2012 and March 2013 by Wigan Council and between October 2012 and March 2013 by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

This was after she dishonestly claimed housing, council tax benefit and income support.

The 26-year-old pleaded guilty at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court to eight charges of dishonestly failing to notify changes to her circumstances.

She declared in an initial claim form for housing, council tax benefit and income support, submitted in 2011, that she was single with three dependent children and was a lone parent.

But evidence had been reported that she living with, and married to, Jamie Hawkins, who was also the father of her children.

Once confronted Medley, of Essex Place, Tyldesley, admitted this and agreed that she should have told the authorities and that she had acted dishonestly.

Prosecuting, Katie Beattie said the defendant had already begun to repay the money.

Defending, Bob Toppin said: “I don’t get a great deal of pleasure from defending this lady.

“Ms Medley is a very nice lady who has struggled to bring up three children with a former violent partner who has come and gone, come and gone throughout the years.”

He added that she accepted that she should have told the authorities.

Mr Toppin said: “She simply wants it over with. She has remorse and embarrassment from the whole experience and I have no doubt that she won’t be before the courts again.”

The court heard that Medley, who suffers from depression, has been paying the money back for the last nine months.

The defendant was given an eight-week community order with a curfew requirement.

She was also ordered to pay £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge.