Mum spared prison to care for kids

A mother of four from Lincolnshire who falsely claimed over £45,000 in benefits has been spared jail by a judge to look after her children

Thirtyfive--year-old Jodei Leigh Wietrzyk failed to declare she had been living with her partner for four years despite claiming income support as a single parent.

The Department of Work and Pensions began an investigation after learning the couple were living together at their home in Cherry Top Valley, near Rothwell, in the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Lincoln Crown Court was told inquiries revealed two cars belonging to Wietrzyk’s partner were registered to the address along with his driving licence and other documents.

The court heard Wietrzyk was separated from her partner when she began claiming benefits in 2001 but failed to notify a change of circumstances when he moved back in four years later.

During interview Wietrzyk admitted she had been on family holidays with her partner and he regularly stayed at the address.

Stuart Loady, mitigating, said the couple would have been eligible for working tax credits, which they had not claimed, if they had declared Wietrzyk’s partner’s job as a security guard.

Mr Loady told the court Wietrzyk was an otherwise hard-working mother who suffered from diabetes.

Mr Loady added: “She has her work cut out as two of her children suffer from disabilities.”

Wietrzyk, of Cherry Valley Top, Rothwell, near Caistor, admitted failing to notify a change in circumstances relating to benefit of £45,205 between December 2005 and June 2009.

She was sentenced to ten months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and placed under the supervision of a probation officer for 12 months.

Passing sentence, Recorder Keith Raynor told her: “You would be going to prison if you were not the mother of four children.

“Stealing money from the state is the same as stealing money from anybody else.”