A mother of two has avoided jail after admitting falsely claiming more than £28,000 in benefits.

Hope Collins, 24, of Seymour Street, Chorley appeared at Preston Magistrates Court facing three charges of dishonestly obtaining the cash in income support and housing and council tax benefits.

The court was told that she had claimed benefits legitimately as Hope Beckett, an unemployed single parent.

However, she failed to tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Chorley Council when her partner, who was working, moved in and that they had married in 2010.

She was sentenced to eight weeks in prison suspended for 12 months and also ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £85 plus a victim surcharge of £80.

Coun Peter Wilson, who oversees benefits payments for Chorley Council, said: “This case came to light when a member of DWP staff noticed that Hope Beckett was claiming income support for a new baby.

“Their investigators looked into it and when it became clear that the allegation also affected housing benefit and council tax benefit, our investigators also became involved.”

Steps are now being taken to recover the overpayment in full.