A woman has been sentenced to 12 weeks in jail, suspended for a year, after she pleaded guilty to benefit fraud of more than £20,000.

Mary Armstrong, 58, of Chorley Road, Whittle-le-Woods, also received a 12-month supervision order and was ordered to pay £80 victim surcharge when she appeared at Preston Magistrates Court.

The court was told that she claimed Income Support from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in 2007 because she was single and unable to work because of illness.

The court, however heard that Armstrong failed to disclose that she was living with her husband, Stephen Dickinson.

Armstrong initially denied all charges but changed her plea to guilty to all three charges when appearing in court. Steps are being taken to recover the benefit overpaid in full.

Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council, said: “Once again someone now has a criminal record for receiving benefits she wasn’t entitled to because she had not let us know when her circumstances changed. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people who legitimately claim benefits to contact us when there is any change in circumstances.”