A Coppull mum has admitted benefit fraud totalling more than £21,000.

Lisa Beard, 41, of Dickens Road, was sentenced to six weeks in prison which was suspended for 12 months when she appeared before Preston magistrates.

The court heard that she had claimed the extra cash in Job Seekers Allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

She claimed on the basis that she was an unemployed single parent and as a result of that claim, she automatically received full entitlement to housing benefit and council tax benefit from Chorley Council.

However, the magistrates were told that she had given false information on her claims for benefit because she had failed to disclose that her partner was living with her.

Beard initially denied the allegation when she first appeared at Preston Magistrates Court and the case was listed for trial.

However, when the case came to be heard on Wednesday, July 2, she pleaded guilty to all three offences.

Councillor Graham Dunn, who oversees benefits payments for Chorley Council said: “This case came to light as a result of a member of the public contacting the National Benefit Fraud Hotline. When it became clear that the allegation affected payment of housing benefit and council tax benefit, our own investigation officers were invited to be involved in the investigation and prosecution.

“I would urge anyone who is aware that someone may be claiming benefits they are not entitled to, to ring the hotline number on 0800 854 440 — it’s confidential and free.”

As well as the suspended sentence, Beard was also ordered to pay £200 costs and £80 victim surcharge.

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