Conditional discharge for benefits cheat who was working

A BENEFITS cheat from Dor-chester has been given two years’ conditional discharge after fraudulently claiming over £2,300 in housing and council tax benefits.

Anita Claridge, 62, pleaded not guilty to the offence of failing to notify West Dorset District Council changes to her circumstances that she was no longer unemployed. Claridge, of Eddison Avenue, Dorchester, claimed £1,793 in housing benefits and £552 in council tax benefits whilst she was working at a school as a cleaner between 1 March 2010 and 6 June 2011.

She was found guilty following a trial at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on November 12. Claridge had repaid the amount in full before the hearing and was given two years’ conditional discharge.

Coun Robert Gould, district council leader, said: “It is vital that anyone claiming benefits informs the council of a change in circumstances immediately.”

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