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Ipswich benefit cheat falsely claimed £11,500 after reconciling with her partner

PUBLISHED: 12:53 07 April 2015 | UPDATED: 12:53 07 April 2015

UK economic growth remained steady in the last three months with weaker performances in some sectors, according to the Confederation of British Industry. Picture: PA

UK economic growth remained steady in the last three months with weaker performances in some sectors, according to the Confederation of British Industry. Picture: PA

An Ipswich benefit cheat who falsely claimed more than £11,000 of taxpayers' money is due to be sentenced next month.

Mother-of-two Stephanie Wicks, of Kingfisher Avenue, Chantry, pleaded guilty to two charges when she appeared before South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court.

The 25-year-old admitted dishonestly failing to notify Ipswich Borough Council of a change in circumstances in relation to housing benefit.

She also pleaded guilty to a similar charge in relation to a claim of income support from the Department of Work and Pensions.

The offences took place between June 1, 2013, and August 15 last year.

Prosecutor Ian Devine said Wicks had claimed income support from February 2012 to August 2014.

She did so for herself and two children on the basis she was a single parent.

Wick also claimed housing benefit over the same period.

However, the court was told it transpired she was living with her partner Carl Meadows over part of that period and had dishonestly claimed just over £11,500.

Mr Devine said matters came to a head because Mr Meadows was seen going to, and leaving, Wicks’ address on numerous occasions.

A check on his bank account also gave the property as his address.

The couple had split up previously but were said to have reconciled in June 2013 after going on holiday to Turkey.

Andrew Cleal, representing Wicks, said arrangements were now in place with Ipswich Borough Council for his client to repay the housing benefit overpayment at £30 a week.

Mr Cleal said Wicks and Mr Meadows had split up in February 2012 but got back together after their holiday in May 2013.Wicks now works part-time.

Mr Cleal added: “She is deeply remorseful. She understands what she did was wrong.”

The case was adjourned until May 20 for a pre-sentence report to be compiled.

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