A mum was given a suspended sentence after claiming £37,000 in benefits she was not entitled to.
Donna Hesketh, 41, of Hinderton Road, Birkenhead, was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for two years, given an 18 month community order and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work at Liverpool Crown Court.
She was charged with four counts of dishonestly failing to give prompt notification of a change of circumstances.
Hesketh had claimed the £37,000 in income support, jobseekers allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit over a period of three years after failing to let the authorities know when a partner moved in with her.
The court heard Hesketh, who has two children aged 16 and 19, had suffered health problems since she had been arrested.
She is currently in employment but on sick leave.
Sentencing, Judge Stephen Clarke said: “The reason why it has affected your health badly is really because you are a decent person.
“The money itself has gone into the family, there is no suggestion it was used for fancy holidays or buying a car.”
Judge Clarke said he had noted the work Hesketh did with young people in the community and her “compassionate nature”.
He added: “But you knew what you were doing was wrong and you must appreciate in these very straitened times when benefits are under attack from all quarters what you did plays some small part in this.
“The whole procedure since you were first arrested has taken its toll upon your health.
“The claim wasn’t fraudulent from the outset and you are endeavouring to try and pay back as much as you possibly can for your dishonesty.”
Hesketh was given a concurrent sentence of four months imprisonment for each charges, each suspended for two years.http://www.wirralnews.co.uk/wirral-news/...80491-32565549/