A fraudster who falsely claimed more than £5,000 in benefits has been ordered by a court to repay the money.

Ann Jacqueline Wilson, 39, of Bannister Drive, Leyland, pleaded guilty to two offences when she appeared at Preston Magistrates’ Court.

The defendant admitted failing to notify South Ribble Borough Council that her earnings had increased between November 2009 and December 2011.

As a result, she fraudulently received £4,625 in Housing Benefit and £397 Council Tax Benefit.

She was sentenced to six months’ conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 costs.

Coun Phil Hamman, South Ribble Borough Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for shared services and corporate support, said: “This prosecution should serve as a warning that we treat benefit fraud very seriously and will continue to bring benefit fraudsters to justice.

“We have a duty to protect our taxpayers, and will continue to leave no stone unturned to ensure we protect the public purse.

“We’re also keen to ensure that everyone who is rightfully entitled to benefits knows how to claim them.

“If you think you may be eligible to receive housing benefit or council tax benefit you should call us for advice.”