A mother who conned the taxpayer out of over £10,000 in benefits has narrowly avoided prison.
Benefit cheat Alison Nugent duped both Scarborough Council and the Department of Work and Pensions by telling them she was a struggling single mum.
But in reality she was living as a couple with her male partner, who was in paid employment.
She claimed thousands in benefits over 18 months including Jobseeker Allowance and Income Support.
But she was eventually rumbled, and brought before the court where she admitted four charges of dishonestly making a statement to obtain benefits.
At Monday’s magistrates hearing, Nugent’s solicitor Robert Vining told the court that his client was facing “serious financial problems”.
She has been getting advice on how to pay off her spiralling debts, which now include the benefit money she is being forced to repay back to the two bodies.
In mitigation, Mr Vining said that the 25-year-old’s situation wasn’t “black and white”, and that she didn’t know if her partner was “coming or going”.
“She thought in view of his past behaviour, she never knew from one week to the next if he would be there,” he said.
The probation service also told the bench the fact Nugent is a mother should go in her favour when sentencing.
And they agreed, sentencing her to 300 hours of unpaid work as a “direct alternative” to custody.
Nugent, who recently moved from Scarborough to Heber Street in Goole, was ordered to pay £145 in costs and a surcharge.