Bassetlaw: Benefit cheats ordered to pay council £200,000 in last three years

Bassetlaw District Council, Potter Street, Worksop  (w120328-5b)
Bassetlaw District Council, Potter Street, Worksop (w120328-5b)
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Benefit fraudsters have been ordered to pay Bassetlaw Council more than £200,000 in the last three years, it can be revealed.

A Freedom of Information request by the Guardian shows that between 2012 and 2014, the district council successfully prosecuted 49 people for £214,567.91.

Last year, council bosses recovered £52,167.48 from a total of nine cases.

In 2013, Bassetlaw Council recouped £121,753.61 from 27 successful prosecutions.

And in 2012, £40,646.82 was recovered from 13 cases.

Coun Sylvia May, cabinet member for corporate and support services at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “These figures show that we take benefit fraud extremely seriously and will use all the powers we have at our disposal to actively pursue benefit cheats through the legal system.”

“In some cases these prosecutions have resulted in custodial and suspended sentences and, in addition to recouping fines and costs imposed by the courts, we will recover every penny of the £200,000 that has been falsely claimed.”

At this stage the amount still owed to Bassetlaw Council in unpaid benefits is unknown.

In the last three years, only two cases did not result in a successful prosecution by the council, according to the FOI.

Coun May added: “Residents may have previously read about these 50 prosecutions in the press; however we hope to report even more successful prosecutions as the council has recently secured additional funding to work even closer with the Department for Work and Pensions.”

“This will allow the council’s dedicated officers to cast the net even wider to uncover other areas of fraud such as Council Tax discounts and insurance claims, which are also on the rise, by using modern, sophisticated detection methods, including the use of systems to trace people who may have moved away.”