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24 Jul 2017

Smoking mother goes unpunished for benefit fraud

A mum-of-three ended up facing jail - because she didn’t tell the council the father of her child had moved in with her.

After Emma Newton fell pregnant her partner began to increasingly stay the night. But she didn’t tell Redcar and Cleveland Council, meaning she racked up almost £5,000 in illegally claimed benefits.

She pleaded guilty to two counts of benefit fraud at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

“She was worried about how she may might support her three children with a reduction in benefits,” said the probation service.

The court heard Newton initially made legitimate claims for housing benefit and income support.

And the probation service added: “Things changed when she met her partner. She was in a relationship with him but it was not serious. When she fell pregnant...it was at this point the relationship started to become a bit more serious.”

The court heard her partner was spending up to five nights a week, despite officially still living with his gran. But with Newton claiming as a sole occupant, it made her claim illegal.

When interviewed after her arrest, prosecutor Lynne Dalton said there was “financial motivation” behind the 31-year-old’s crimes. The court heard they were serious enough to warrant a six month custodial sentence, and her solicitor added: “She’s been very scared understandably about what might happen.”

The illegal claims were made between July 2015 and February 2016.

However, in mitigation, it was said she’s paying back around £100-a-month.

And magistrates spared the Middlesborough mother from jail or doing community work after the court heard claims it could cause childcare issues.

She was fined £120 and ordered to pay £85 in costs along with a £30 surcharge.

Source, with pictures showing she can afford fags

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