Burgess Hill benefit cheat prosecuted

PR2247/MS/MF - 26/09/2019

A woman from Burgess Hill has been convicted of benefit fraud after dishonestly claiming over £18,600.

Mrs Briony Nunne of West Park Crescent, Burgess Hill claimed Income Support from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Council Tax Support and Housing Benefit from Mid Sussex District Council on the basis that she was a single parent living alone. However, in February 2017 she married Michael Nunne and failed to tell relevant authorities about her change in circumstances.

The DWP received a fraud allegation on 16 June 2017 stating that the claimant and her partner has been together for at least two years. A subsequent investigation revealed this to be the case and the DWP prosecuted Mrs Dunne for benefit fraud.

On 13 August 2019, Mrs Nunne pleaded guilty at Horsham Magistrates Court to dishonestly making a statement or representation to the DWP and Mid Sussex District Council with a view to obtaining a benefit, advantage or other payment.

Mrs Nunne, who is 27 years old, was sentenced to a 12 month Community Order, which requires her to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work in the community. She was also given a 15 day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement, ordering her to complete activities that are designed to reduce the prospect of her reoffending.

The court ordered Mrs Nunne to pay the DWP costs of £170 and a victim surcharge of £85. Mrs Nunne is also required to pay back all the overpaid Income Support, Council Tax Support and Housing Benefit.

Councillor Ruth De Mierre, Cabinet Member for Customer Services said:

“The Council will always take firm action against the very small minority of benefit claimants who seek to cheat and be a drain on the wallets and purses of our law abiding Mid Sussex residents. Members of the public can help us catch these cheats by reporting suspected fraud anonymously via the Council’s website www.midsussex.gov.uk/revsandbens/benefits/fraud or the National Fraud Hotline 0800 854 440.”