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Hartlepool benefits cheat will take almost 200 years to repay taxpayer, court told
A BENEFITS cheat was paying back the money she conned from the taxpayer at a rate that would take her almost two centuries to clear, a court heard.
Jayne Young raked in a "startling" £150,000 by repeatedly lying to officials about being a single mother - when she was living with her partner.
The 44-year-old illegally picked up Income Support, JobSeekers' Allowance, council tax relief and housing benefit for more than ten years.
Young, a mum-of-four, from Hartlepool, wept as she was jailed for ten months yesterday for what a judge said was a "persistent and prolonged" scam.
Teesside Crown Court heard how she pocketed £85,500 in Income Support, £55,000 housing benefit, £7,600 council tax relief and £2,800 in JobSeekers Allowance.
Since her arrest last year, she has been paying back the Department for Work and Pensions £40 a month to clear the Income Support she collected.
It would take Young 2,139 months - or 178 years - to clear the debt, but that would still be just fractionally more than half of what she was overpaid.
The judge, Recorder Tim Gittins, told her: "The totals are startling. You deliberately deceived the benefit providers and for a considerable period of time."
The court heard that Young and her partner Jason Swanson - the father of her two eldest kids - twice went to Center Parcs and had a ten-day holiday in Tenerife.
Ian Mullarkey, mitigating, said there was no evidence of them leading a comfortable or extravagant life while the money went on day-to-day household bills.
He told Recorder Gittins that Young had a "troubled life with a difficult partner" and there were times when she lived alone during the con.
"A letter from her doctor speaks of the profound consequences that these proceedings have had upon her," said Mr Mullarkey. "It has cause severe depression.
"This has been a very frightening experience . . . given the devastating effect custody would have on her and her family, I urge Your Honour to suspend the sentence."
Young, of Everett Street, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to notify a change of circumstances at an earlier court hearing.
The judge told her: "I am acutely conscious of your family circumstances, but you brought these matters upon yourself and they were only stopped by the investigators finding out and challenging you about them."