Benefit cheat faces community service

AN Ipswich benefit cheat is today facing 100 hours of community service after admitting she fiddled money from the taxpayer.

AN Ipswich benefit cheat is today facing 100 hours of community service after admitting she fiddled money from the taxpayer.

Deborah Youngs of Peterhouse Close, in the Chantry area, appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court after an investigation by officials.

Magistrates were told the 46-year-old was charged with failing to disclose her partner's income while she was still receiving housing benefit and council tax benefit from Ipswich Borough Council. Youngs pleaded guilty to both charges.

Over an eight-month period she falsely claimed a total of �3,904.

Now, she faces paying back the whole amount after being caught.

The court heard Youngs made the claims between February and October last year.

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She admitted that she knew that she should have told the borough council about the additional income her partner was receiving.

Youngs was sentenced after the court considered a report by the probation service.

Magistrates decided the appropriate punishment, in addition to paying the money back, was for her to do 100 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Following the case, a spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said: "The courts are toughening up on benefit fraud.

“In this time of economic uncertainty any drain on the public purse by dishonest means is a serious offence.

“The benefit system is there for those in need and is not there to be abused in this way".

The spokesman reminded people it is the individual's responsibility to notify the council if their circumstances change in case this affects their housing or council tax benefit.

This also includes any changes to benefits individuals receive from other departments such as the job centre or HM Revenue and Customs.