Benefit cheats to pay back

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THREE benefit cheats from the Gainsborough area are being forced to pay back more than £10,000 in benefits between them.

They all appeared before Lincoln Magistrates Court on Wednesday 5th January for failing to declare a change in circumstances affecting their entitlement to housing and council tax benefit.

University lecturer Clementine Monro, 38, of High Street, Fillingham, pleaded guilty to failing to declare a change of circumstances, which affected her entitlement to housing and council tax benefit, and she will now have to repay £3065.93. She was also fined £300 and ordered to pay £100 towards prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Karen Marshall, 43, of Lea Road, Gainsborough, pleaded guilty to two offences of fraudulently claiming council tax and housing benefit.

Her overpayment totalled more than £4,000 and she was fined £100 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge.

Also, 48-year-old Stephen Guest, of Messingham Road, Scotter, also pleaded guilty to failing to notify the authorities of a change in circumstance, after he started work on a salt cavern rig and must now repay £2,406.30. Guest was fined £300 and ordered to pay £100 prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Revenues, Benefits & Customer Services Manager, Alan Robinson said that this is a fantastic result for West Lindsey District Council.

“The benefit system is there to help people in times of need,” he said.

“It is important during the current financial climate that we are able to support those people who actually need the money.”

“At the same time it is vitally important that we protect the limited public fund from abuse of this kind.”

He added: ““We want to get the message across to residents that it is their responsibility to inform the council of any change of circumstance which could affect their entitlement to benefits.”

You can report benefit fraud by calling the council on 01427 676522. All calls are treated in the strictest of confidence.