Daughter was paid more than £10,000 carer's allowance she wasn't entitled to

A woman from West Yorkshire who was paid more than £10,000 in carer's allowance she wasn't entitled to used it to  make regular trips to Hartlepool to support her elderly father who was  suffering from cancer, a court heard.

Tracey Sowerby, of Knottingley near Pontefract, failed to inform the Department for Work and Pensions when she got a part time job working as a cashier at a Lidl supermarket, Leeds Crown Court was told.

Sowerby, 54, was paid a total of £10,461 she was not entitled to over a period of more than three years from November 2015 to February this year.

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Prosecutor, Catherine Duffy, said Sowerby, of Racca Green, stated she was not working before she started receiving carer's allowance in August 2010.

Leeds Crown Court

The court heard Sowerby signed a declaration saying she would notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if her circumstances changed.

Miss Duffy said Sowerby started working part time at a Lidl supermarket in October 2015, but did not inform the DWP.

The court heard Sowerby told police she knew she had to notify the DWP of a change in circumstance, but didn't think she had to report part time work.

Sowerby, who has no previous convictions, admitted failing to declare a change in circumstance.

Probation officer Mick Berry told the court Sowerby, who has five children and 14 grandchildren, feels a "deep sense of shame and embarrassment."

Mr Berry said Sowerby had used the carer's allowance money to travel to Hartlepool three times a week to support her elderly father, who was suffering from a number of illnesses including cancer.

Mr Berry said Sowerby's father died in April.

Mr Berry said: "Had she known any different she would have stopped receiving it."

Mr Berry added: "She is not a wealthy woman. She went immediately to a bank to get a £10,000 loan and can repay it with that."

Recorder Andrew Dallas handed Sowerby a six week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months.

And he imposed a two month electronically monitored curfew between 11pm and 6am on Tuesdays and Saturdays and between 8pm and 6am on all other days.

Recorder Dallas told Sowerby: "I'm quite satisfied that it's highly unlikely that I will see you here again and that the first appearance at your age is a matter of considerable shame to you.

"You have borrowed the money to repay this straight back and that reflects well on you."