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29 May 2013

Hyndburn Council recovers £250k from benefit cheats

Hyndburn Council said it has had an ‘outstanding year’ catching benefit cheats and recovering more than a quarter of a million pounds.

The authority reclaimed £264,204 over the past year of housing and council benefit which had been fraudulently claimed.

Investigators with the council’s benefit fraud team are celebrating a rise of almost 150 per cent on the previous year’s figure of £108,000.

A variety of detective techniques and one high-profile case worth almost £100,000 was said to be responsible for the surge.

Head of the team at Hyndburn Council, Mark Beard said different investigative techniques were used to catch cheats, depending on the case:
It calls for a different approach every time. Sometimes we use surveillance, sometimes more hi-tech methods. We have a flexible approach. There’s always a way to catch someone out.
The team last year also enjoyed a 100 per cent success rate in court prosecutions.

The most successful saw £99,149 recovered from 35-year-old Accrington mum Dawn Wood, who was jailed for lying about living with her partner, Robert Fletcher.

New figures show that over the 2012/13 financial year, Hyndburn’s benefit fraud team cautioned 70 benefit cheats and prosecuted another 26.

Some of the cases also had ‘national’ benefits involved including Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance.

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