A mother-of-three from Astley Village, Chorley, has been found guilty of benefit fraud totalling nearly £2,000.

Jamie Leigh Morgan, 34, of Great Meadow, had pleaded not guilty of falsely obtaining the cash in housing benefit and council tax benefit when she appeared before Preston magistrates.

However, the court found her guilty after hearing that although she made a legitimate claim to Chorley Council for help with her rent and council tax payments when she started a new job, she failed to notify the council immediately when she started to do overtime and receive a productivity bonus from her employer.

The magistrates were told she did eventually tell the council she was working extra hours, but only after she had been earning the extra cash for several months.

Councillor Graham Dunn, who oversees benefits payments for Chorley Council, said: “It is very important that people let us know immediately of any changes in their circumstances to prevent an overpayment of benefit.

“Ms Morgan left it several months before she told us and now she not only has to repay that overpayment, she also has a criminal conviction.

“Just as a warning to others, under new rules anyone who is convicted of a benefit offence or accepts a caution or financial penalty as an alternative to prosecution, can find any benefits they are in receipt of reduced or withdrawn for a period of four weeks, or in some circumstances 13 weeks.”

Ms Morgan was handed a 12-month community order with supervision, fined £25 and ordered to pay £60 victim surcharge.

Steps are being made to recover the overpayment in full.