A WRAFTON woman continued to claim council tax and housing benefit despite inheriting nearly £65,000. Joanne McKnight failed to notify North Devon Council of a change in her circumstances after receiving money from the estate of her late father in 2006. A

A WRAFTON woman continued to claim council tax and housing benefit despite inheriting nearly £65,000.

Joanne McKnight failed to notify North Devon Council of a change in her circumstances after receiving money from the estate of her late father in 2006.

Appearing before North Devon magistrates on Wednesday, she pleaded guilty to four charges of dishonestly claiming a total of £13,345.66 between April 2006 and March this year.

Defence solicitor Mr Ball said McKnight, 57, had started a perfectly legitimate claim that was not fraudulent from the start but became fraudulent.

He said that at the time of receiving the inheritance, she was a divorced lady who had received nothing from her settlement and was living in "reduced circumstances".

"She got herself in a hole and didn't stop digging," he told the court.

"She knows now she should have told the council about her change in circumstances straight away."

McKnight was warned that the crime she had committed was one that could carry a custodial sentence. However, residing magistrate Robin Hagley took into account her early guilty plea and that she had repaid the money

The court fined her £2,750 plus £75 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.