Woman 'wrongly claimed more than £1k'

A BURY St Edmunds' woman dishonestly claimed more than £1,000 housing and council tax benefit for a property she sub-let to someone else while she was living with her boyfriend in another part of the town, it has been alleged.

Jane Hunt

A BURY St Edmunds' woman dishonestly claimed more than £1,000 housing and council tax benefit for a property she sub-let to someone else while she was living with her boyfriend in another part of the town, it has been alleged.

When 47-year-old Trudy Girkin submitted application forms for council tax and housing benefit to St Edmundsbury Council she gave her address as Grove Park, Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday.

However it was discovered that Girkin had sub-let the property to an acquaintance called Christopher Sanderson after he complained to the police that she had changed the locks on the doors and would not let him into the house to collect his belongings, alleged Ian Stebbings prosecuting.

“Christopher Sanderson told police that he was renting the property from this defendant and he was living at 40 Grove Park and not the defendant,” said Mr Stebbings.

He said that Mr Sanderson claimed he had arranged to pay Girkin £50 a week rent plus £15 towards council tax.

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“The prosecution say that she failed to tell the council this knowing that if she did it would affect her benefits,” said Mr Stebbings.

He said that as a result of Girkin's alleged dishonesty she was overpaid a total of £1,054.91 council tax and housing benefit.

Girkin, of Rockingham Road, Bury St Edmunds has denied two offences of dishonestly failing to notify St Edmundsbury Council of the change in her circumstances between September 2005 and June 2006.

Mr Stebbings told the court that an investigation was carried out by the council during which it was allegedly discovered that Girkin had been living with her boyfriend at an address in Coltsfoot Crescent, Bury St Edmunds.

The trial continues today