A former nurse who defrauded taxpayers out of more than £30,000 has been told to pay it back or face jail.
Kim Clarke, 53, had the order made against her at a Proceeds of Crime hearing at Preston Crown Court.
She had previously been found guilty of false accounting.
Clarke, who had previously worked as a paediatric nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, was caught by a Department for Work and Pensions investigation in 2010, after falsely claiming disability living allowance for 14 years.
Clarke, of Henson Avenue, South Shore, was found guilty by a jury at Lancaster Crown court after a trial in March.
During the trial CCTV footage of Clarke shopping and exercising in St Annes town centre was shown to the court during the trial as proof her claim was fraudulent. At the Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, which took place yesterday, Clarke was ordered to repay £30,929.90 within 10 months or face 12 months in prison should she default on payment.
She was also told she must pay £3,500 in costs.
Lord Freud, the Government Minister for Welfare Reform, said: “Benefit thieves are costing the taxpayer £1.2 billion per year.
“This money is intended to help those most in need not line the pockets of criminals.
“We will continue to tackle this problem at the frontline but also at the root by reforming the benefits system to make it less open to abuse.”
Payback order ‘will send warning to fraudsters’
The Department for Work and Pensions, which prosecuted Clarke, said the order would send a warning to other benefit cheats that they could face jail if they don’t pay back what they stole.
A DWP Spokesperson said : “We are determined to make sure that benefit cheats pay back the money stolen from taxpayers.
“This means we are forcing fraudsters back to court after their conviction so we can confiscate their ill-gotten gains.
“If they still refuse, then they risk going to jail.”