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

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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.

Leeds Crown Court

Leeds Crown Court

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.

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

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."