A 34 year-old Fakenham woman who falsely claimed nearly £59,000 in benefits was given a suspended jail term by a judge as she is trying to get her life back on track.

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Julie Bushby, of Sandy Lane, Fakenham, claimed income support when at the time she was living with a partner from 2007 until April 2011 and also claimed benefits from May 2009 until September 2010 while working in a pub in Wells, Norwich Crown Court heard.

She also claimed housing benefit amounting to £14,707 and council tax benefit totalling £3211.

Matthew Sorel-Cameron, prosecuting said that the total amount of benefits falsely claimed was £58,881.

However after hearing how Bushby was co- operating with organisations who were helping her overcome her chaotic lifestyle Recorder Malcolm Davis-White imposed a 25 week jail sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered her to do 250 hours unpaid work.

He said the courts took benefit fraud “extremely seriously” and said: “the public feels a sense of fury about cases such as yours.”

However he accepted she was now trying get her life back on track.

Calvin Jackson, for Bushby, said she was full of remorse and said she had not declared that she had been living with a partner as it started out as a friendship and developed from there. He said they were no longer living together.

He said her claim was not fraudulent from the outset and said she had been living a “chaotic lifestyle”

“She has learned her lesson from all this.”

He said she was repaying some of the money fr her benefits.

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