A benefits cheat claimed more than £9,500 in single parent payments after her children had left home, a court heard.

Susan Marsden, of Blackpool Street, Church, received overpayments in income support, carers allowance, disability allowance and tax credits over a seven-month period in 2013.

The 54-year-old pleaded guilty at Blackburn Magistrates Court to three counts of failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of a change in her circumstances and one count of knowingly being concerned in fraudulent

Tracy Yates, prosecuting, told the court how Marsden received income support from December 2011 to November 2013 for herself and three children.

The court heard how she also received carers allowance and disability living allowance from March 2008 to October 2013 and tax credits from August 2013 to November 2013.

Miss Yates told the court how Mrs Marsden’s three children left her home, however she still continued to receive payments.

She said: “Evidence became available to show Mrs Marsden’s children were no longer living in her household.

“This defendant failed to declare this to the DWP nor did she declare to HMRC for working tax credits.

“She was interviewed in February 2014 and she admitted the children had left the premises and admitted she knows now she should have declared that and admitted she received money she was not entitled to.”

The court heard how the overpayment amounts she received included £3,543.96 in income support and £1,697 in disability living allowance.

Imran Hussain, defending, said ‘the facts are not in dispute’ but said Marsden’s claims were ‘initially legitimate’.

He told the court: “They weren’t fictitious or false from the outset.”

Mr Hussain said Marsden entered an early guilty plea and the overpayments were ‘over a relatively short period of time’. He said: “It’s had a detrimental impact on this lady’s emotional well-being.”

Mr Hussain told the court how there is a ‘voluntary repayment plan’ in place for Marsden but he ‘didn’t know how long it would take to pay the amount back’.

Marsden was given a 12-month community order with supervision and activity requirements, fined £25 and also ordered to pay a £60 victim