A FORMER Old Trafford resident was handed a community punishment order after falsely claiming more than £10,000 in benefits.

Melissa Leadbeatter, 24, who now lives in Liverpool but used to live on Seymour Grove, Old Trafford, was convicted of benefit fraud at Trafford Magistrates Court on February 21.

She was ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work as well as the community order.

Miss Leadbeatter had failed to declare that she had her partner living with her and was overpaid income support, housing and council tax benefit between April 24 2011 and November 4 2012 – amounting to £10,721.88 – as a result.

The council and the Department for Work and Pensions are seeking to recover all of the monies that were illegally obtained from Miss Leadbeatter.

Leader elect, Cllr Sean Anstee, said: “It is important that people make sure they declare all information relevant to their claim and let us know if their circumstances change at any time.

“Failing to do so could see them receiving benefits they are not entitled to and being prosecuted as a result.”

If you suspect anyone of benefit fraud contact Trafford Council on 0161 912 2852 or via Freefone number 0800 328 6340.