A mum of two from Adlington falsely claimed more than £3,800 in benefits, a court heard.

Catherine Brickell, 32, of Windsor Avenue, pleaded guilty at Preston Magistrates Court to claiming the cash in Income Support and Council Tax Benefit.

She had made a genuine claim for income support when she and her husband separated and as a result of that claim, she was entitled to full council tax benefit from Chorley Council.

However, magistrates were told that she failed to inform both the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the council that she and her husband had made up and he’d moved back into the marital home.

Councillor Peter Wilson, who oversees benefits claims for Chorley Council, said: “This is another example of investigation officers from Chorley Council and the DWP working together to stop benefit fraud.

“I would impress upon all benefit claimants that they must report any changes in their circumstances promptly.

“Otherwise, not only could they have a large overpayment to repay, they could, like Mrs Brickell, end up with a criminal conviction.”

Brickell was given credit for an early guilty plea and sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £100 costs.