A woman from Richmond received a year's suspended sentence after being found guilty of benefit fraud.

Samantha Buckley, of Sheen Road, falsely claimed more than £70,000 after continuing to claim single mother benefits, despite living with her undeclared husband, who was in full-time employment.

Richmond Council officers investigated her and found she was overpaid £7,349.61 in housing benefit, £1,840.91 in council tax benefit and £65,014.39 in income support.

She was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court this month and received 12 months’ custody, suspended for two years.

Buckley must complete 240 hours of unpaid work, attend a 40-hour education and employment course and pay costs of £500, including a £100 victim surcharge.

Deputy leader of the council Councillor Geoffrey Samuel said: “Once again we have succeeded in exposing benefit cheats.

“Benefit cheats be warned - we will leave no stone unturned in rooting out fraudulent claims.

“Our main aim is to protect the public purse and ensure that financial help is available for those who truly deserve and are entitled to it. “All benefit theft is crime and this council is determined to bring fraudsters to justice.”