Benefits cheat warned she faces jail if she can’t repay her debt

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A BENEFIT fraudster has been warned she faces a prison sentence if she doesn’t repay more than £1,000 to the taxpayer.

Livingston Sheriff Court heard that Wendy Cole had paid back less than £150 since she was caught claiming cash to which she wasn’t entitled in December 2010.

She received £1,160 in Income Support payments over a four-month period. The mother-of-two was only caught because someone tipped off the Department for Work and ­Pensions that she was working.

Cole, 41, from Broxburn, West Lothian, had been repaying via benefit deductions of £8.40 every two weeks – and had only managed to repay £150 in two years.

Sheriff Martin Edington said he was “not impressed” and sentenced her to 108 hours of unpaid work and to pay compensation for the balance of £1013.45 by way of a lump sum in 22 months time.

He told her: “This is a serious fraud. You’re going to put something back into the community by doing unpaid work or other activity. If you fail to comply, you may find yourself going to prison instead.”