A former benefit claims worker has been given a suspended prison sentence for fraudulently claiming almost £14,000 in housing and council tax benefits.

Jahanara Begum, 32, claimed housing benefit from May 2009 until June 2010 while temping as a benefits assessment officer at Richmond Council.

But she failed to declare a £50,000 income from her own company, Jahanara Consulting Limited, of which she was the sole director.

In total Begum, a single mother who lived in Princes Road, Kingston, but now lives in Cheshire, was overpaid £13,979 by Kingston Council.

When she was interviewed by fraud investigators, she denied she had done anything wrong.

An appeal by Begum against Kingston Council was dismissed by a tribunal.

At Wimbledon Magistrates' Court last week, Begum was sentenced to 12 weeks in custody suspended for 12 months, and ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work.

She was also ordered to pay £500 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

Her sentencing follows that of former councillor Tim Dennen who narrowly escaped prison on Friday despite a court hearing he had been on a fraud awareness course.

He was fined £7,000 and ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service for failing to declare he was receiving councillor's expenses when he claimed benefits from Kingston Council.