£27,000 Selkirk benefit fraudster spared prison sentence

Selkirk Sheriff Court.
Selkirk Sheriff Court.

A woman has been spared jail for a benefit fraud running to almost £27,000 after Selkirk Sheriff Court was told she was paying back that money.

Rebecca Fairley, 33, failed to notify the Department for Work and Pensions and Scottish Borders Council of a change of circumstances after she began living with her partner, a tree surgeon.

The mother of three pleaded guilty to claiming £10,811 in income support and £15,964 in housing benefit she was not entitled to.

That offence was committed over a four-year-plus period between October 2012 and February 2017 at a house at Lindean, near Selkirk.

Stable yard worker Fairley, giving an address at Dryden, near Selkirk, is now repaying the money she defrauded the council and DWP out of at a rate of £100 a month.

Sheriff Euan Edmont told her she had narrowly avoided being sent to jail due to the sum involved and imposed an order to do 300 hours’ unpaid work, the maximum amount allowed.

In addition, she was ordered to observe a night-time home curfew between the hours of 7pm and 6am.

The sheriff told her those sentences were an alternative to custody.