Benefits cheat is spared prison

A SCARBOROUGH benefits cheat who illegally claimed nearly £85,000 in a “truly shocking” act of deceit has escaped an immediate jail sentence.

Carol Blackburn, of Prospect Park, was handed a 10 month sentence - suspended for 18 months - after being prosecuted on six charges of benefit fraud.

The judge in the case had threatened 59-year-old Blackburn with immediate custody but was unable to enforce the sentence on health grounds.

Blackburn had deliberately failed to disclose that her landlord was, in fact, her husband and had made several false statements to Scarborough Council and the Department for Work and Pensions claiming to be a single person.

She even claimed by using a different name than her married name in order to hide her relationship.

The offences were carried out between 2003 and 2009.

Nicholas Edwards, Scarborough Council’s Head of Finance and Asset Management said: “The amount of money stolen in this case is truly shocking.

“This case represents a prolonged and organised attack on the benefits system and the public funds that support the most vulnerable in society.”

After being handed the suspended sentence, Blackburn was also ordered to abide by a curfew, confining her to her home between 7pm and 7am each day during the next six months.

Following the conviction, Scarborough Council have appealled for anyone with information on suspected benefit fraudsters in the area to come forward by confidentially contacting 0800 0568154.