A NANTWICH woman who fraudulently claimed nearly £6,000 in benefits has been given a 12-month community order and told to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

Hazel Tinsley, 59, of Tailors View, Nantwich, pleaded guilty at South Cheshire Magistrates’ Court to two offences each of fraudulently claiming both Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

The offences related to her failure to declare a change in her financial circumstances.

Magistrates’ sitting in Crewe on Monday, January 27 heard that Tinsley claimed the benefits from December 2007 on the basis that she was on a low income and that her daughter was in receipt of income support.

However, during an investigation by Cheshire East Council’s benefit fraud investigation team, it was found that Tinsley’s earnings had increased significantly on or around April 1, 2010, and also that her daughter’s income support had ended on October 31, 2011.

Failure to report both these changes led to Tinsley being overpaid Housing Benefit of £5252.11 and Council Tax Benefit of £737.67.

The prosecution was brought by Cheshire East Council’s legal team.

Clr Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of finance, said: “This prosecution, and others like it, send out a clear message that we are an enforcing Council and will take firm action to protect our communities from those who abuse the rules at the expense of taxpayers.

“Benefit fraud will not be tolerated. In the last financial year we successfully prosecuted more than 30 benefits offenders and we are committed to ensuring these people are brought to justice.”

If you think someone is committing benefit fraud, you can ring the confidential freephone fraud hotline on 0800 389 2787. You don’t have to give your name and your call will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Alternatively, you can report suspected fraud via the Council’s website at cheshireeast.gov.uk