Woman’s £5k benefits fraud

A BUXTON woman claimed more than £5,000 in benefits to which she was not entitled after she failed to disclose that her live-in partner was in work.

Michelle Titterton, 33, of New High Street, appeared before High Peak magistrates on Friday when she pleaded guilty to five charges of benefit fraud, including producing false documents.

She was ordered to complete 140 hours’ unpaid work, repay all the money she owed, and pay £500 costs.

The case was brought by High Peak Borough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after investigations found that she had tampered with two tenancy agreements to give the impression that partner James Hanlon did not live with her. In fact, he not only lived with her but was also working.

She altered the documents when she claimed Housing Benefit in respect of her current address and her previous one in Peveril Road.

Titterton’s current landlord confirmed that the agreement had been tampered with, and it was clear that correction fluid had been used to remove Mr Hanlon’s name from the earlier document.

Under caution, the defendant also admitted failing to disclose that she was working at Morrison’s supermarket.

She was overpaid Housing Benefit of £2,583.79, Council Tax Benefit of £399.98 and Income Support of £2,323.98 between March 2009 and April last year.

Tim Norton, Executive Councillor for Corporate Services, said: “This latest conviction shows once again that we’re taking a hard line on benefit cheats who defraud the honest taxpayer.

“Anyone who suspects that people are receiving benefits they’re not entitled to should call us in confidence on 01298 28433.

“They can be certain that we’ll always take action,” he vowed.