A BENEFITS cheat ripped off taxpayers by telling councils she was a single mother when she was living with a partner – who worked for one of the local authorities.

Lyndsey North pocketed more than £5,000 in council tax relief, housing benefit and JobSeekers’ Allowance between 2008 and 2010, Teesside Crown Court was told yesterday.

North lived in Hurworth Road, Darlington, and in Somerset Pastures, Ruskelth, North Yorkshire, while she was cheating the system, said Rebecca Brown, prosecuting.

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The court heard that the 29- year-old received benefits totalling nearly £1,400 from Hambleton District Council and more than £2,850 in JobSeekers’ Allowance.

She also claimed more than £1,350 from Darlington Borough Council even though her boyfriend, David Hewitson, worked for the council, Miss Brown told the court.

Martin Scarborough, mitigating, said North, who now lives in St Mary’s Mount, Wyke, Bradford, is expecting a child with her partner next month.

The judge, Recorder Sandra Knapton, told her: “I take into account that you are shortly to have extra responsibilities.

“There were several occasions when you had the opportunity to tell the authorities you were living with your partner.”

Unemployed North admitted five charges of dishonestly making false statements between November 2008 and January 2010 at an earlier court hearing.

The judge imposed a 12-month community order with Probation Service supervision, and ordered North to pay £2,754 compensation.