A woman has been fined after pleading guilty to benefit fraud worth more than £7,000.

Toni Fincham, 36, of The Oundle in Stevenage, failed to declare a change of circumstances to Stevenage Borough Council after her earnings increased. This resulted in her being overpaid £5,854.75 in housing benefit and £1,471.95 in council tax benefit.

Miss Fincham pleaded guilty to two offences at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court on October 21. She was fined £130, as well as being made to pay £550 towards prosecution costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Councillor Joan Lloyd, executive member for resources at the borough council, said: “It’s vital that our residents notify us if their situation changes. As this investigation shows, abuse of the benefits system will not be tolerated, and we will not hesitate to take appropriate action against those who make fraudulent claims.

“It is a criminal offence to not tell us if your circumstances change, so don’t be tempted to keep quiet. It simply isn’t worth it.”

For information on council tax support and advice on entitlement, contact the council’s council tax team on 01438 242242 or visit www.stevenage.gov.uk for further information.