Benefit fraud woman must pay back thousands

AN Amble woman has been found guilty of fraud after claiming thousands of pounds of benefit while living with a partner who was working.

Hollie Handyside 24, of Glendale, claimed more than £6,000 in income support, housing and council tax benefit to which she was not entitled between May 2010 and May 2011.

Handyside was investigated by Northumberland County Council and the Department for Works and Pension who had acted on information they received about her personal circumstances.

Handyside initially denied being in a relationship with the alleged partner during an interview under caution stating he visited the property each day to visit the children.

However, on being presented with social network site evidence of their relationship she fully admitted him living at the property while she was in receipt of housing, council tax and income support benefits.

Handyside did not attend South East Northumberland Magistrates Court and a warrant with bail was issued when she pleaded guilty to two counts.

She was sentenced to a 12-month community order comprising a 12-month supervision order and 40 hours’ unpaid work for hiding the fact she was living with her partner who was in paid employment. The overpayment will be recovered in full.

If you suspect anyone of committing benefit fraud, you can contact the council anonymously on 01670 502444 or by completing an online referral form via the fraud page at www.northumberland.gov.uk or by email at fraudline@northumberland.gov.uk