A MUM-of-four caught pocketing £20,000 in benefits after failing to reveal she was living with a partner has been hit with a six-month curfew order.
Kirsty Benn didn’t tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) she was living with Mark Campbell at her home in Wallyford, East Lothian.
The 35-year-old benefits cheat appeared for sentencing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday after admitting the charge at a hearing in October.
Sheriff Douglas Keir imposed a six-month restriction of liberty order which bans Benn from leaving her home between 8pm and 7am daily.
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Sentencing had been deferred for reports.
The court previously heard how the DWP investigated Benn’s Universal Credit claims through checks with a bank and the TalkTalk mobile phone service provider.
Benn pled guilty to knowingly failing to give prompt notification to the DWP of a change of her circumstances affecting her benefit in that she’d been living with Campbell.
The offending took place between July 2016 and May 2018.
On Thursday Benn’s defence agent Mary Moultrie said the report confirmed Benn “did not intend to commit” the offence, but it was her “responsibility” to ensure her personal details were correct.
Ms Moultrie said Benn’s relationship with her partner had been “on/off” and she would still have been entitled to some benefits if she’d alerted the DWP about her living situation.
The solicitor said Benn, a first offender, was making substantial repayments to council tax and Universal Credit debt which made her family’s financial situation difficult.
Sheriff Keir said he “took on board” that Benn hadn't committed the offence intentionally, but added it was her responsibility to alert the authorities over her “personal circumstances”.
The sheriff said Benn was aware of the “shame brought on your family by this offence”.