A woman who fraudulently claimed more than £54,000 in benefits while selling antiques and gold worth hundreds of thousands of pounds has been convicted.

Kaye Kendall, 50, from Lancing, received the Universal Credit payments while making over £226,000 selling historic items between 2018 and 2022.

She also made £35,000 trading stocks and shares and almost £5,000 from the sale of property.

Kendall failed to inform the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that she had moved out of an address where she was claiming rent assistance and moved back in with her partner.

She was rumbled after investigators found she had made deposits of over £40,000 into her bank accounts over the four-year period.

Kendall was given a seven-month suspended sentence at Lewes Crown Court after pleading guilty to failing to declare a change of circumstances relating to undeclared income.

The case will now turn to pursuing repayment from Kendall, with a confiscation hearing scheduled for January next year.

The sentencing comes as the latest figures show a ten per cent drop in the rate of fraud and error over the past year, with plans to drive those numbers down further.

The government aims to save at least £1.3 billion on fraud and error in the year ahead to keep up pressure on those “intent on exploiting the system”.

DWP minister responsible for tackling fraud, Tom Pursglove, said: “This hearing should act as a deterrent to anyone thinking they can get away with cheating the system.

“We are cracking down on those who shamelessly take money from people who need our support, mostly by boosting our fraud teams as part of plans to save the taxpayer £1.3 billion next year.”

Last year, the DWP launched a plan to further tackle fraud and error in the benefits system, The Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System plan, backed by £900 million over three years, bolsters the counter-fraud frontline significantly with measures including the deployment of trained specialists to review millions of Universal Credit claims.