Sheriff tells benefits cheat she narrowly avoided going to jail
centre is closing. I can understand that the footfall is down in areas and VisitScotland is trying to make a decision, but what is its next move?
“A place like Stonehaven has thousands of visitors to places like Dunnottar Castle, the fireballs, the open air pool and Feein Market.
“There should be a visitor centre so that people can see what great things there are to do in the town.”
Cllr Brian Topping, who represents Fraserburgh and district, said he was sad to hear that the town’s tourist centre was shutting down.
He said: “I’m really disappointed that it is to close. I’m not aware of any consultation that has gone on regarding this and I would hope that even at this 11th hour something could possibly be done for it to stay open.
“Fraserburgh is a regeneration town and a lot of money has been spent to make it more appealing; tourism is a big part of that.
“I don’t think everyone is on the internet and if people came into the town the visitor centre would be the best place for them to find out about other places to visit.”
VisitScotland said it invests £10 million each year in digital activity – which includes its travel hubs in Aberdeen and Braemar.
Jo Robinson, regional director at VisitScotland, said: “The way visitors access information has changed significantly over the past five years.
“It’s time to switch our focus and invest in new and diverse initiatives to ensure we are reaching as many visitors to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as possible with the information they want, in the way they want it, when they want it.
“With three-in-four adults now owning a smartphone, a key focus is ensuring our digital communications provide succinct inspirational and informational advice to visitors at every stage of their journey.
“However, we know that speaking to locals is also important to our visitors and with our high footfall iCentres in Aberdeen and Ballater, more than 100 VisitScotland information partners locally and our
The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses in Fraserburgh and, inset, left, Dunnottar Castle and Macduff Marine Aquarium.
Stonehaven’s tourist information
team of outreach staff travelling around the country, it means there is always advice on what to see and do and where to go, wherever people are,” she added.
“The information revolution is upon us and we look forward to telling more and more visitors all about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire across all our different channels for many years to come.” A WOMAN has been ordered to carry out unpaid work after fraudulently claiming £12,500 in benefits she wasn’t entitled to. Linda Elrick, 62, appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, pictured, yesterday where she was sentenced for the offence which took place between April 30, 2012 and August 28, 2015.
Elrick, whose address was given in court papers as Jesmond Avenue, in Bridge of Don, previously admitted failing to notify officials in the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that her partner had obtained employment and was in receipt of earnings.
Les Green, Elrick’s solicitor, told the court his client had a number of health difficulties, but would be capable of doing unpaid work and carrying out light duties.
He said: “One of the things she enjoys doing is painting ceramics.”
But Sheriff Graham Buchanan said:
“It’s not much of a punishment if she enjoys doing it. It’s just exercising her hobby.” Sheriff Buchanan said he had previously imposed a jail term in a case involving a similar amount, but had seen this overturned on appeal. He said: “The appeal court took the view that a custodial sentence was excessive for an amount of just about this sum.
“It was an educational experience for me and it acts as guidance to me as to how to deal with these cases in the future.”
In sentencing Elrick, Sheriff Buchanan told her: “This is a serious matter and you obtained £12,500 of public money to which you were not entitled as a result of failing to disclose at the appropriate time that your partner was working and earning money.
“In your case the sum involved is such that you are on the margin of a sentence of imprisonment or a direct alternative. “In light of personal experience I have in dealing with cases like this it seems to me that your case just tips on the side of a non-custodial sentence.” Sheriff Buchanan ordered Elrick to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work over the next 10 months and told her: “It won’t necessarily be the type of work that Mr Green has described.”