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Benefits cheat dodges jail over cost

A BENEFITS cheat has been spared prison – because a sheriff said jailing her would cost too much.

A BENEFITS cheat has been spared prison – because a sheriff said jailing her would cost too much.

Anne Cherrie, 58, swindled the Department for Work and Pensions out of nearly £5500 over a two-year period.

Cherrie, of Armadale, West Lothian, told Jobcentre officials that she had no job and no earnings to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance.

But Livingston Sheriff Court heard she was working at the time for bookmaker William Hill and facilities management firm Interserve-MacLellan.

Cherrie has repaid just £400 of the cash so far, the court was told during yesterday’s hearing.

Sheriff Grahame Fleming said sending the fraudster to prison would only end up costing taxpayers more money.

Instead, he ordered her to carry out 160 hours of community service work.

He told Cherrie: “It’s clear you’re making some attempt to pay back this amount, albeit by fairly low instalments.

“If I were sending you to prison, it would mean the taxpayer would have to pay even more money to keep you there.

“I think it’s more appropriate that you should give something back to the community in reparation for the money you’ve taken out of the benefit system.”

 

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