A COUPLE who were convicted in their absence of benefit fraud at a property in Ramsey were arrested by police in Sussex and brought back to Cambridgeshire for sentence.

Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court heard that Sally Brudenell, 48, had claimed benefit at 29 Westfield Road, Ramsey, in February 2010 as an unemployed single parent.

Following her claims an allegation was received by Huntingdonshire District Council’s fraud team that a David Pollard also lived at the address and worked full time.

Enquiries showed that David Pollard, 56, was resident and in full-time work, although the couple both denied any wrongdoing in interviews with council investigators.

When the Brudenell’s benefit was re-calculated it was found that £3,509 had been overpaid in housing and Council Tax benefit and income support between February and June 2010.

The couple were summonsed to attend court on a number of occasions in 2011, but they failed to attend any hearings and their case was eventually heard in their absence last October. The case against them was proved based on the evidence collected by the council.

Sentencing Brudenell, magistrates said that, although this was not the most serious case of benefit fraud that had been before the bench, the couple’s continued failure to declare Pollard’s residence, and lack of admissions when they had an opportunity, aggravated the offending.

Brudenell, who had no previous convictions, was given a 12-month community order with a requirement to undertake 120 hours unpaid work. She was also ordered to pay £2,423 compensation to the council and costs of £240.

Pollard was told that his sentence was deferred as he is due to change employment, and the magistrates wanted to know his new details in full before sentencing. His case was adjourned to July 23.