Benefits cheat claimed nearly £4,000

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A benefits cheat got almost £4,000 she wasn't entitled to by keeping quiet about the fact she was working, a court heard.

Simone Annette Tappin (48) got housing benefit and job seekers allowance by not telling Burnley Council and the Department for Work and Pensions she was working for G4S Secure Solutions Ltd.

Burnley magistrates were told Tappin not only failed to declare a change in her circumstances, but made two false statements in the near two- year fraud. She was overpaid a total of £3,859.21.

The defendant, of Gannow Lane, Burnley, admitted two counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances, one between September 2013 and June 2015, involving housing benefit from Burnley Council and one between September 2013 and February 2014 regarding the DWP and job seekers allowance. She also pleaded guilty to two allegations of dishonestly making a false statement to get the two benefits, on or about February 5th, 2014 and on or about June 11th, 2015.

Tappin, who is currently on universal credit, was given 100 hours unpaid work and must pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge. She had no previous convictions.

Prosecutor Mr Andrew Robinson said Tappin's benefits claim was made in 2008 and was originally legitimate.

The DWP later found out she was working for G4S on a zero hours contract and had not notified them. In February 2014 and June 2015, the defendant falsely declared she wasn't working. The authorities, Mr Robinson added, would recover the money from her.

Mr Richard Taylor, defending, said Tappin was offered work on a zero hours contract. He continued :" The difficulty with this, of course, is she never knows when she is going to be working. At the moment, she is on zero hours and has not worked for the last month."

The solicitor said: "The money is now being repaid at £79 a month and the first two payments have been made."