Ben­e­fits cheat told to re­pay almost £12,000

Macclesfield Express - - BARLOW’S BRIEF - ALEX HIB­BERT

ABENEFITS cheat who falsely claimed almost £12,000 has been or­dered to re­pay the en­tire amount.

Sylvia Hatchard, 64, told au­thor­i­ties she was a sin­gle woman on a low in­come while claim­ing £11,763.30 in hous­ing ben­e­fit, coun­cil tax ben­e­fit and pen­sion credit.

But fraud de­tec­tives from Cheshire East Coun­cil found that she was ac­tu­ally liv­ing with her hus­band who helped support the house­hold fi­nan­cially.

Hatchard, of Ken­dal Road, Mac­cles­field, will now have to re­pay all the money after ad­mit­ting two charges of dis­hon­estly mak­ing false claims after ap­pear­ing at Mac­cles­field Mag­is­trates’ Court on Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 2.

Mag­is­trates also im­posed a three-month cur­few on Hatchard be­tween the hours of 7pm and 7am and or­dered her to pay £695 in pros­e­cu­tion costs.

Peter Raynes, Cheshire East Coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber for fi­nance, said: “By claim­ing ben­e­fits they are not en­ti­tled to, fraud- sters take money away from peo­ple who re­ally need help.

“The mes­sage is clear: Cheshire East Coun­cil will track them down, pros­e­cute them and en­sure they do not profit from their crimes.”

Res­i­dents can re­port peo­ple they sus­pect of ben­e­fit fraud by call­ing free on the con­fi­den­tial fraud hot­line num­ber 0800 389 2787.

There is no need to give a name and calls are treated in the strictest con­fi­dence.

Al­ter­na­tively, sus­pected fraud can be re­ported through the coun­cil’s web­site at cheshireeast.gov. uk.

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