Burnley mum lied to claim £19,000 in benefits

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A MUM who claimed nearly £19,000 in benefits fell foul of the law because she did not tell the authorities about a man living with her.

Burnley Crown Court was told that Elisha Barker (29), of Lubbock Street, Burnley, was in an abusive relationship with the man, who occasionally lived with her.

She was given six months in jail, suspended for a year, with supervision and 240 hours unpaid work. The court heard she had no previous convictions and was paying back the money in small amounts. Her mother is standing by her.

She admitted three counts of dishonestly failing to promptly notify a change in circumstances, between February 2008 and July 2010.

A single parent with two dependant children, she made a legitimate claim for income support in April 2006 and also claimed housing benefits and council tax benefits.

The claim became unlawful from February 2008, when she was living with a man and did not tell the authorities.

Recorder Barry Searle said the offences were serious. “By your actions, you have defrauded the community and you have defrauded the system, which is designed to help people in genuine need,” he said.

“I accept you were in an abusive relationship and that he came and went.

“Nevertheless, that’s no excuse for what you did over two-and a-half years.”