Mum claimed £19k benefits while in work

Blackpool Magistrates Court
Blackpool Magistrates Court

A mum of five illegally claimed more than £19,000 in benefits while working at a shoe shop and stores.

Irene Shute, who had been employed at Vernon Humpage shoe shop, the Co-op, Spar and other companies, said she had found the benefits claim system confusing.

It is sad to see you in court. The money you were not entitled to is a significant sum

Shute, 73, of Lawsons Road, Thornton, pleaded guilty to three offences of dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances.

She was sentenced to a 12- month community order with 200 hours’ unpaid work for the community and ordered to pay £85 costs by District Judge Jeff Brailsford sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.

The judge told her: “It is sad to see you in court. The money you were not entitled to is a significant sum.”

Jim Mowbray, prosecuting, said over a period of 22 months from September 2012 to 2014, Shute illegally claimed a total of £19,315 in Pension Credit from the Department of Work and Pensions plus council tax and housing benefit from Wyre Council by failing to disclose she was working.

Jessica Partington, defending, said Shute married a Jehovah’s Witness and did not work while she was married.

She told the court Shute’s husband and other members of the religion has been investigated after a claim of abuse,but no charges were ever brought.

Shute divorced her husband and worked for a number of companies locally.

Her claim had not been fraudulent from the outset.

She had found the benefits system very confusing and she had buried her head in the sand.