Bury St Edmunds woman admits falsely claiming more than £10,000 in benefits

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A mother-of-four has admitted fraudulently claiming more than £10,000 in benefits.

At Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on Monday, Jacqueline Huckvale, 33, of Summers Road, Bury, pleaded guilty to four charges of dishonestly making a false statement to obtain a benefit, advantage or payment.

Ian Devine, prosecuting, said: “She claimed she was a lone parent with three children and, on that basis, benefits were paid to her. In actual fact, she was still married, living with her partner and had never separated. It amounted to just over £10,000.”

“They were false claims from the outset,” he added.

The fraudulent claims - for Housing and Council Tax Benefit, Income Support and Employment Support Allowance - were made between July 8, 2011, and December 7, 2011.

In mitigation, Mary Peck said Huckvale had been ‘struggling to keep up with payments for the household’ and had not had an ‘extravagant type of lifestyle’.

Probation officer David Steel interviewed Huckvale at the magistrates’ request.

He said: “She accepts full responsibility for her behaviour and seems very ashamed. She’s started to pay back some of the money that’s owed.”

“She’s very apologetic and said it’s enough, coming to court, to making her realise she never wants to be in this position again,” he added.

Sentencing Huckvale to a 12 month community order, presiding magistrate Barry Ellis, said: “This took place over a long period of time and was a significant amount of money. We’ve taken account of your obvious remorse, the fact you’re making payments and the fact you’re in employment at the moment, which is a good thing.”

Huckvale will be required to complete 120 hours unpaid work as part of her community penalty.

She was also ordered to pay £85 towards costs and a £60 victim surcharge.