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Great Yarmouth man and woman appear in court over £19,000 benefit fraud

PUBLISHED: 13:41 19 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:41 19 September 2018

Norwich Crown Court. Picture Adrian Judd.

Norwich Crown Court. Picture Adrian Judd.

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A Great Yarmouth couple were involved in making fraudulent benefit claims amounting to £19,000 using a false tenancy agreement to pretend they were not in a relationship, a court heard.

Shannon Trett, 22, and Charles Dersley, 31, were at the time living together in Great Yarmouth and had a child together, but Dersley drew up a false tenancy agreement pretending to be her landlord, so Trett would be eligible to falsely claim thousands of pounds in housing benefit, Norwich Crown Court heard.

The court was told when challenged about the arrangement of charging rent to his partner, Dersley had said: “Nothing is free in this life.”

Trett, of Kent Square, Great Yarmouth, admitted falsely claiming almost £12,000 in housing benefit and falsely claiming more than £7,000 in income support, by not revealing she was living with Dersley between January 2014 and February 2016.

Dersley, 31, of Admiralty Road, Great Yarmouth, admitted making a tenancy agreement to assist or commit fraud in January 2014 and July 2013.

Judge Moore said that Dersley had played a prime role in the fraud by drawing up the false tenancy agreement.

She accepted Trett had been in a troubled relationship with Dersley at the time of the offences and was vulnerable but told her: “You accept you ought to have made it plain you were living in the house with him and he was the father of your son.”

She said instead she pretended he was her landlord and not part of the family unit.

Judge Moore said the fraud had gone on for some time, amounting to 127 weeks.

She said she considered Dersley to be a “prime mover” in the fraud and while Trett had been open when challenged, she said Dersley when asked why he was charging rent to his partner had replied: “Nothing is free in this life.”

She imposed a five month jail sentence, suspended for 21 months, for Trett, with 21 months supervision.

She jailed Dersley for 12 months, suspended for 21 months, with 21 months supervision.

She also ordered him to do 180 hours unpaid work.

She said she hoped he would not behave in this way again.

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