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Mid Suffolk plugs drain on public cash

PUBLISHED: 18:55 23 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:58 03 March 2010

FRAUD-busters have snatched back more than £120,000 from benefit cheats as a Suffolk authority vows to plug this drain on the public purse.

The benefit section of Mid Suffolk District Council has achieved a total of £122,800 in weekly benefit savings, exceeding their government-set target by £45,000 after a greater emphasis was laid on finding fraud.

FRAUD-busters have snatched back more than £120,000 from benefit cheats as a Suffolk authority vows to plug this drain on the public purse.

The benefit section of Mid Suffolk District Council has achieved a total of £122,800 in weekly benefit savings, exceeding their government-set target by £45,000 after a greater emphasis was laid on finding fraud.

Their efforts have secured a government grant of £15,000, which will be ploughed back into the fraud-busting team.

"At a time when benefit fraud is costing the country an estimated £2 billion a year, Mid Suffolk District Council is fighting back," said a council spokeswoman.

The savings are the latest success for the Benefit Section. In April, the team achieved their first fraud prosecution when a claimant from Elmswell was charged with falsely claiming over £3700 of housing and council tax benefit over a five-year period.

He was fined £500 and ordered to pay £75 costs.

The savings have secured the council a government reward of £15,000, which may be ploughed back into the Benefit Section to help fund the team's pursuit of further prosecutions.

"Mid Suffolk District Council would urge all residents to claim benefits they are entitled to, but we will aggressively pursue those who make deliberately false or misleading claims," added a council spokeswoman.

"We operate a benefit fraud hotline on 0800 085 7214 so people can report suspected cheats in total confidence."

Those wanting to inform the council of a change in circumstances can call the office on 01449 727287 or 01449 727397 between 8.30 am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.


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