THE first person from the Vale of White Horse to have been prosecuted for fraudulently claiming single person discount on their council tax has been named.

Colleen Ludlam, 37, of Springfield Road in Wantage, must carry out 40 hours of unpaid work after she claimed more than £2,000 that she was not entitled to over six years.

She admitted that her partner had lived with her between 2013 and this year at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Magistrates were told her illegal activity was only uncovered after she failed to respond to a review about her discount. The case was then passed onto Vale of White Horse District Council’s fraud investigation team.

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More checks were carried out, including credit reference checks.

Investigators found said she started to legitimately claim the discount after her husband had moved out – but then lied to keep on claiming the money after he had moved back into the home.

Emily Smith, the leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Single person discount is there to help people who live on their own to pay their council tax.”

She added: “However, it is now the single most prevalent area for fraud against local authorities, costing councils and council taxpayers millions of pounds every year.

“If someone has other people over the age of 18 living in their property then they are not able to claim this discount and we will not hesitate to take action against anyone who deliberately lies about their situation in order to get more money.”

A report found that £32.6m had been fraudulently, or wrongly received, via council tax single person discount, compared with £24.9m via housing benefit fraud and overpayment.