Council worker in benefit fraud

A FORMER council employee who falsely claimed more than £14,000 in benefits over a three-year period is set to be sentenced tomorrow.Linda Thomas, of High Street, Needham Market, pleaded guilty to benefit fraud on September 29 but the case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports to be undertaken.

A FORMER council employee who falsely claimed more than £14,000 in benefits over a three-year period is set to be sentenced tomorrow.

Linda Thomas, of High Street, Needham Market, pleaded guilty to benefit fraud on September 29 but the case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports to be undertaken.

The 40-year-old will now appear before South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court tomorrow to learn her fate.

Thomas committed the offence while working for Mid Suffolk District Council and Ipswich Borough Council, as well as a local cleaning company.

She had worked as a part-time athletics coach for Mid Suffolk council in February 2002.

Mid Suffolk councillor Christopher Lawrence, finance and resources portfolio holder, said: "Benefit fraud is unacceptable. Cheats are literally stealing from the public pocket and taking funds that should be going to community members who need and deserve them most."

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Benefits manager Evelyn Crossland added: "We hope that by actively pursuing prosecutions that are in the public interest, we're sending a clear warning to all those who are tempted to try to falsely claim public funds.

"We urge all residents to claim benefits they are entitled to but will aggressively pursue those make deliberately false and misleading claims."

The case was brought to court by the Department of Work and Pensions and Mid Suffolk council.

Anyone wishing to report benefit cheats can do so by calling 0800 0857214. If anyone would like to inform the council of a change of circumstances, they can do by calling 01449 727287 or 01449 727397 between 8.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

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