An Adlington woman was handed a suspended prison sentence after she pleaded guilty to claiming nearly £15,000 in benefits she wasn’t entitled to.

Audra Ashton, 46, of Harrison Road, claimed the cash as an unemployed single parent, however Preston magistrates heard that she had been living with her partner who was self-employed earning around £500 a week.

They were told she claimed income support, jobseekers allowance, employment and support allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit, but failed to tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Chorley Council that she had been living with her partner for more than two years.

Ashton pleaded guilty to four offences of dishonestly failing to promptly report a change in her circumstances.

Councillor Peter Wilson, who oversees benefits payments for Chorley Council, said: “This case came to light as a result of anonymous information and was referred to DWP investigators.

“They soon revealed that there was some basis to the allegation and our own investigators were invited to join the inquiry, so that the full extent of the fraud could be put to the court.”

Magistrates sentenced Ashton to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered her to complete 300 hours of unpaid work. She was also ordered to pay £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.