TWO benefits cheats have been ordered to carry out unpaid work by magistrates after they falsely claimed £21,000 benefits and failed to declare they had partners living with them who were working.
Stephanie Harrison, 28, of Cherry Close in Cocking claimed more than £7,000 in housing benefit, council tax benefit and income support between January 2013-June 2014.
She failed to declare she had a partner living with her who was working.
She pleaded guilty to three charges of dishonestly making false statements to both Chichester District Council (CDC) and the Department for Work and Pensions.
During a hearing on January 5, Worthing Magistrates Court sentenced Harrison to a 12-month community order and 80 hours’ unpaid work.
Sharon Streeter, 30, of Coombe Crescent, Bury claimed more than £14,000 in housing benefit, council tax benefit, employment support allowance and jobseekers allowance from March 2012 to October 2013 and during this time she also failed to declare she had a partner living with her who was working.
Streeter pleaded guilty to four charges of dishonestly failing to disclose she was living with her partner.
During a hearing at Worthing on December 29, she was sentenced to 80 hours’ unpaid work.
Both women were ordered to make a contribution towards the costs of the case.
Cllr Tony Dignum, CDC cabinet member for finance and governance, said: “We will always take action against people who try to cheat the system.
“We will protect our communities from those who criminally abuse the benefits system to line their pockets.”
If anyone suspects benefit fraud they can contact the council’s investigation team on 01243 534590 or report it at www.chichester.gov.uk