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Former Bewbush fraudster prosecuted by Crawley Council

A former Crawley resident has been successfully prosecuted by Crawley Borough Council for two criminal offences in relation to council tax and tenancy fraud.

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Photo: Google Street View

Helen Reed held a council tenancy at Cumbernauld Walk, Bewbush but moved out of her property to live with her husband in Gosport in April 2018. She was also claiming a Council Tax Reduction Scheme award and housing benefit at the Bewbush address.

Council fraud investigators became aware of the situation in August 2018 and began gathering evidence to prove their case.

Mrs Reed was found to be renting accommodation in Gosport while continuing to receive benefits at her Crawley address, which was rented out to her adult daughter. Mrs Reed failed to inform the council about the change in her circumstances and that she was no longer living at Cumbernauld Walk.

Once enough evidence was obtained, Mrs Reed was interviewed under caution at Portsmouth City Council offices by fraud officers from Crawley Borough Council in March 2019, by which time the situation had been continuing for almost a year, leading to substantial council tax and housing benefit overpayments, which she was made to repay.

Additionally, her tenancy was subsequently ended and the property at Cumbernauld Walk was repossessed by the council.

Mrs Reed was summonsed to court for her actions and pleaded guilty on Thursday (24 October) to offences under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 and the Council Tax Reduction Schemes Regulations 2013. She was convicted and sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a contribution towards costs.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“While benefit and tenancy fraud are very rare, when people do commit it they take money directly from local services and the members of the community who need it most.

“Where fraud is committed, those individuals will be found and they will be prosecuted.”

Anyone who suspects someone of committing tenancy fraud or council tax fraud can contact the council’s Corporate Fraud Team free and in confidence 24 hours a day on 0800 634 0180 or email investigations@crawley.gov.uk

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Local petition to remove COVID pop-up cycle lanes gains over 1500 signatures in just 12 hours

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A Crawley petition launched by a local resident to try to get the COVID pop-up cycle lanes removed has gained over 1500 signatures overnight.

The cycle lanes have already been described as ‘a complete waste of time’

A video published by CN24 two weeks ago shows the extent of the problems drivers are experiencing with the cycle lanes:

With the petition reaching so many signatures so quickly it is expected that it will reach the required 3,000 signatures required for it to be brought up for an official debate with West Sussex County Council.

The petition was setup by resident Daniel Armstrong who said:

“I started it is because of the reaction online from a massive majority of residents.

I’d like WSCC to consider removing the Pop up cycle lane already in place on Hazelwick Ave, as this is causing more havoc than it is helping anybody.”

Anyone wishing to add their signature to the petition can do so here.

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