Beds, Herts & Bucks

Flitwick mother Trudy Harris jailed for £37,000 benefits fraud

A mother of seven has been jailed for 18 weeks for a £37,000 benefit fraud by claiming to be a single parent when her partner was living with her.

Trudy Harris, 38, of Flitwick, Bedfordshire, was helping her partner run his bouncy castle business from her home, Luton Crown Court heard.

She admitted five charges of making false representations to the Department of Work and Pensions.

The claims were made between April 2008 and February 2011.

'Remorse for conduct'

Alun Evans, prosecuting said it was estimated that Harris had been overpaid £37,000 in income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

He said that when she initially began claiming the various benefits she was in genuine need, but in time her partner returned to live with her. and she failed to declare that change in her circumstances.

"A raft of documents show that he lived there and effectively ran his bouncy castle business from there," said Mr Evans.

Andrew Morton, defending said Harris understood "her culpability and expresses remorse for her conduct".

Judge David Farrell QC said: "The fact is you are a fraudster. This conduct constitutes theft from hard working members of the public.

"In my judgement offending to this extent is so serious only immediate custody is appropriate."

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