A WOMAN falsely claimed almost £50,000 in benefits after she failed to declare she had got married and was living with her husband.

Arran Slater, of Sandys Road in Ombersley, Droitwich, became Mrs Slater in 2009 to her husband who lived with her and was working full time, but carried on claiming income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit as a lone parent.

An investigation by Wychavon District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions found the 34-year-old had been overpayed £31,867.76 in income support and a combined total of £16,783.30 in housing benefit and council tax benefit between February 2009 and January 2013, a total of £48,651.06.

Slater pleaded guilty to charges of dishonestly failing to report changes in her circumstances when she appeared at Worcester Magistrates Court on Monday, January 20, when she was committed to Worcester Crown Court for sentencing on Friday, February 21.

In sentencing her, the Judge said that it was not a victimless crime and she had obtained a lot of money by defrauding taxpayers of money to which she was not entitled. He also noted that she had made a lifestyle choice and that she had used the money to fund her good lifestyle.

She was sentenced to an eight-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months. She was also given a 12-month supervision order, ordered to pay costs of £200 and to repay the full amount of benefits she was not entitled to.

To confidentially report a case of benefit fraud to Malvern District Council, Worcester City Council or Wychavon District Council, call 01386 565280 or email fraud@southworcestershirerevenues.gov.uk.