Fraudster must pay

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A NORTH Northumberland woman was given a 20-week suspended prison sentence for fraudulently claiming over £46,000 of benefits, which will have to be paid back.

Doris Grant, 63, of Dinningside, Belford had been operating a cottage cleaning company in Bamburgh, Seahouses and Belford but had continued to claim benefits without declaring her additional earnings.

Investigators from from the Department of Works and Pension and Northumberland County Council uncovered the offence and when Grant was interviewed by officers she admitted to claiming Income Support, Pension Credit, Housing and Council Tax Benefit and failing to declare her additional income.

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court where Grant pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months. The overpayments from both departments will also be required to be repaid in full.

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