Sutton benefit cheat leads the high life

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A BENEFITS cheat who inherited a luxurious Portuguese ranch has been told she will not face jail - despite wrongly claiming more than £5,000 of tax-payers’ cash.

Ann Stimpson (48), of High Close, Annesley Woodhouse, received £5,000 to £6,000 in housing benefit from Ashfield District Council between March 2006 and July 2008.

But she has already been named on her father’s death as an executor of a home he owned in Portugal - which had tennis courts, olive groves and a swimming pool.

She also owned a Portuguese mobile home site and had shares in two firms with a large portfolio of rented properties.

Stimpson was caught out after police and Ashfield District Council conducted a ‘long and extensive investigation’ to uncover the details of her deception.

Council fraud investigator Dave Brown said: “Her son was being educated at a private school in Portugal while she was pretending to be a lone parent on a low income and renting a property on High Close.

“Under such circumstances as these, the council will always take a serious view and take the appropriate action.”

A woman of previous good character, Stimpson originally faced eight charges of pocketing up to £12,000 worth of illegal benefits from Ashfield District Council.

She admitted four charges of failing to declare a capital asset. The other four counts were ordered to lie on the file.

Stimpson was due to appear at Nottingham Crown Court on 4th April to be sentenced but did not show because of illness. She submitted a medical certificate.

Judge Michael Stokes, the Recorder of Nottingham, adjourned the case until Friday 13th May.

“I have already indicated I will not be sending her to prison,” the judge told the court.