Benefit cheats from North Common are jailed after swindling taxpayers out of more than £21k

south glos councilA couple from North Common have been jailed for four months after fraudulently claiming thousands of pounds in benefit payments.

Andrew and Lisa Carlisle, from Windermere Way, each received sentences of 16 weeks at North Avon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday after admitting fraudulent claims totalling more than £21,000 between 2010 and 2013.

The court heard that the couple had deliberately withheld income details when they claimed for housing and council tax benefit during 2010.

They renewed their claim in 2012 even though evidence later showed Mr Carlisle had continued to work as a self-employed builder.

The fraud was revealed following a detailed investigation by South Gloucestershire Council’s fraud team, working in partnership with Bristol City Council.

The investigation found that the couple had taken a number of foreign holidays while claiming benefits intended to support those on low incomes.

Sentencing them, the District Judge called the foreign holidays an “aggravating factor” in the case and said the sentence should serve as a deterrent to others considering similar offences.

Senior fraud officer for South Gloucestershire Council, Steve Downton, said: “Benefits are provided to help the most vulnerable in society, and anyone abusing that system risks a hefty fine or a prison sentence.

“The clear message to fraudsters is that we will find them out, we do talk to other agencies such as the Department for Work and Pensions and police, and we will prosecute.”