Mum faces benefit charge

Mum-of-two claimed single parent benefit while living with father of her second child.

A BIDEFORD mum-of-two falsely claimed more than �8,000 in benefit handouts for single parents while living with the father of her second child.

Nicola Wells, 28, failed to notify the Department for Work and Pensions that Paul Hope had moved back into the household at Ayres Close, in East-the-Water.

On Wednesday, North Devon Magistrates heard that between April 2009 and October last year, she illegally banked income support totalling �8,502.92.

Prosecutor John Annear said Mr Hope was in full-time employment which meant Wells was no longer entitled to claim benefits as a lone parent.

For the defence, David Rowe said Wells was suffering from stress at the time due to family illnesses and bereavement.

He said: “She felt she needed the support at that time in the stressful situation she faced.

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“She is extremely sorry about the offences, which are a blot on her previous good character.

“She has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. The money was used purely to support herself and her children.”

Magistrate Michael Buckley said in view of the amount of money involved, he would need to consider the possibility of imposing a community order.

Wells was granted unconditional bail and the case was adjourned for sentencing on May 24.

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