A disabled pensioner has been found guilty of claiming thousands in UK benefits despite living in Spain.

Lesley Udberg, of North Shields, was handed a suspended sentence for the £17,000 fraud and will have to pay it back, reports Chronicle Live.

The 69-year-old's claim for disability living allowance was genuine, as she had a number of health conditions and has been unable to work from the age of 42.

Udberg lived in Spain for about six years but was not entitled to claim.

Lee Fish, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court: "Between June 2011 and 2017, she got benefits she was not entitled to because she failed to disclose she was, at the time, living in Spain for about six years."

Newcastle Crown Court

The court heard the total over-payment was £17,300, although she has currently paid back more than £4,000 and is paying £50 a week out of her pension.

Udberg admitted two counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances and was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months..

The judge told her: "You should have told the authorities back in 2011 of the considerable periods of time you were spending in Spain and you failed to do so.

"There's no suggestion you were living the high life, in fact it sounds like quite the opposite."

Jonathan Cousins, defending, said the claim was legitimate due to several health conditions she continues to have and she is eligible for benefits again now as she lives here.

Mr Cousins said Udberg moved to Spain when her husband's mum became seriously ill, as she lived there.

He added: "She was not living the life of Riley or enjoying a lavish lifestyle at the taxpayers' expense. She was isolated in Spain."