Benefit cheat caught red-handed

Crime story
Crime story

A WIGAN woman who falsely claimed nearly £11,000 in benefits has been spared an immediate jail term.

Nicola Nelson admitted claiming £10,982 worth of benefits that she wasn’t entitled to between May 2012 and October 2013.

Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard how her claim, which had not been fraudulent from the outset, had hinged on her being a single mother-of-two.

But evidence then came to light to show that the 27-year-old was in fact living with her partner, Darrell Jones, at her home on Dixon Avenue, Shevington.

Mr Jones’ employment records and bank details both pointed to him living at the same address as Nelson.

In interview, Nelson accepted that she had been living with Mr Jones and that, by not informing the authorities of her change in circumstances, she had acted dishonestly.

Graham Simpson, defending, told how his client’s relationship had been “hit and miss” at the time but had now stabilised.

He added that she had already started repaying her ill-gotten gains at £75 per month.

Magistrates handed Nelson an eight-week jail sentence but suspended it for 12 months.

They also ordered her to pay £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.