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Norfolk benefit cheat given a last chance

PUBLISHED: 07:29 29 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:36 01 July 2010

Christine Cunningham

A mother, who falsely claimed more than £20,000 in benefits, was given a last chance by a judge, despite what he said was public anger over benefit cheats.

A mother, who falsely claimed more than £20,000 in benefits, was given a last chance by a judge, despite what he said was public anger over benefit cheats.

Lorraine Turner, 46, falsely claimed income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit totalling £20,073 over 127 weeks as she did not declare that her partner had started working, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Turner, of Newnham Green, Gorleston, admitted failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions about a change in circumstances.

Recorder Michael Evans said he would give her a last chance and imposed a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and imposed a four-month curfew.

He told Turner: “What you did was very serious. The cost to the public when people like you behave like this is enormous, particularly in the current climate, and it does lead to considerable public anger.”

However, he accepted she was not in the best of health and that her claim had not started out as dishonest.

He also gave her credit for returning some of the money as she has already repaid £950.

“I'm giving you a last chance. I hope this has been a lesson you have learnt.”

Kevin Batch, for Turner, said she had immediately admitted what she had done and said the claim had not started out as dishonest.

He said the cash claimed was spent on day to day living: “There was no lavish lifestyle.”

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