Uttlesford benefit fraudster pays the price

Uttlesford District Council

Uttlesford District Council - Credit: Archant

A BENEFIT claimant who failed to notify Uttlesford District Council of a change in her circumstances has been left counting the cost of her dishonesty.

Alice Hedley, 30, received Housing Benefit to help her pay the rent on a property in Newbiggen Street, Thaxted.

But magistrates in Chelmsford heard that she failed to tell the council when she moved to another address in North Street, Great Dunmow, with her partner.

As a result she continued to receive Housing Benefit for the property in Thaxted and was paid £3,081.12p she was not entitled to.

The court heard that her dishonesty only came to light when the new owners of her previous home informed the local authority they had moved in so they could register to pay council Tax.

Hedley, who admitted benefit fraud, will have to repay the money in full.

She was also granted a conditional discharge for the period of 12 months and ordered to pay the council £300 towards the costs of the court hearing.

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Councillor Robert Chambers, Uttlesford District Council’s portfolio holder for finance and administration, said: “The council is committed to paying benefits to those residents who are entitled to them.

“However, we have a duty to protect the public purse and as a result we take a zero tolerance approach to anyone who commits benefit fraud.”