Benefits cheat ordered to do unpaid work

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AN Upper Heyford woman will have to carry out unpaid work in the community after being found guilty of fraudulently claiming more than £4,000 in benefits.

Lorraine Kirk, 43, of Heyford Leys in Upper Heyford, pleaded guilty to making various false claims at Banbury Magistrates’ Court on Friday, January 6.

Between 1998 and 2010, she claimed single person’s discount on her council tax bill worth just over £2,260.

She was also paid £1,439 in housing tax benefit and £340 in council tax benefit between March and August 2003 she was not entitled to.

Kirk was caught after a member of the public told Cherwell District Council (CDC) she had been living with her partner.

Councillor Ken Atack, CDC member for financial management, said: “Theft from the taxpayer is something we will just not put up with.

“We are receiving more and more reports from members of the public who are sick and tired of other people scamming the system.

“To anyone out there who is making fraudulent benefit claims, my message is we will catch up with you eventually.”

Kirk has now paid back all of the money, and magistrates ordered her to carry out 60 hours of community work and pay £300 court costs.

Council tax fraud can be reported confidentially on 0800 716152.