A WOMAN was successfully prosecuted for benefit fraud by South Lakeland District Council.

Sharon Murphy, 45, of Castlefield, Ambleside, pleaded guilty to one charge of dishonestly failing to give a prompt notification of a change in circumstances affecting her entitlement to housing and council tax benefit, when she appeared at South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court.

She also pleaded guilty to four charges of dishonestly making a false representation with a view to obtaining benefits.

The court heard Murphy was overpaid £6,842.58 as a result and will have to pay this back in full to the council.

Murphy was also made the subject of a 12-month Community Order, where she was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work. The court ordered her to pay the costs of the council in full of £429.45 and a £60 victim surcharge.

Magistrates gave her credit for her guilty plea and she said that she was very sorry and deeply ashamed of what she had done. She said she was trying to make ends meet and had not led an extravagant lifestyle as a result of the fraud.

Alan Raven, SLDC’s Revenues and Benefits Manager, said: “People need to be aware that the council will always prosecute where deliberate fraud is uncovered. The council has a responsibility to protect public funds and SLDC will continue to take a tough stance on any type of benefit fraud.”