Benefits cheat admits £26,000 fraud

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A WOMAN has pleaded guilty to falsely claiming more than £26,000 in benefits.

Wendy Rice, of Tregoney Avenue, Murton, appeared at Durham Crown Court yesterday accused of falsely claiming housing and council tax benefits and jobseekers allowance over a period of three years.

The court heard that the 51-year-old first applied to Durham County Council for housing and council tax benefit in May 2010 but her application was refused because her husband’s earnings were too high.

In January 2011, she again applied for housing and council tax benefit and also made a claim to the Department for Work and Pensions for jobseekers allowance, claiming that she was separated from her husband and had no income. Her applications were approved.