A BENEFITS cheat who was paid nearly £60,000 she was not entitled to has been spared jail.

Carrie Anscombe, 38, from Moulsecoomb, Brighton, was handed a suspended sentence after a judge described her offending as unlawful and antisocial.

Anscombe was paid £58,721 in five different benefits she was not entitled to over six years.

She admitted four charges of fraudulently claiming income support, job seeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit between 2010 and 2016.

Louise Walls, for the Crown, told Lewes Crown Court that Brighton and Hove City Council and the Department for Work and Pensions were involved in a lengthy and complex investigation to establish Anscombe was living with her long-term partner Stephen Watson, who was also in full time work.

Ms Walls said: “The AA also showed she had a membership in his name.

“Barclays Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland were also involved.

“There was also a Brighton language college completed application for a student to stay with her and included Watson as staying with her.

“She was interviewed in October 2016 and denied he was living with her.

“She said they had an off-and-on relationship.”

Anscombe broke down in the dock when Judge Charles Kemp said he was not sending her to prison.

He said there was no evidence the money had been used to fund an extravagant lifestyle.

“They are very serious offences,” the judge said.

“It is public money which you have fraudulently obtained over a long period.”

The judge agreed that Anscombe had shown genuine remorse and made candid admissions.

Anscombe was sentenced to ten months concurrent for each of the four offences she admitted, suspended for two years.

She was also ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard Anscombe is already paying back the money.

The judge warned her to keep up the repayments and complete the hours of unpaid work or her suspended sentence could be activated.

“It may be today marks the beginning of a new chapter in your life,” he said.