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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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WARNING: From Monday 18th Nov Tushmore Roundabout Roadworks begin for 7 WEEKS!

The work is being carried out by Southern Gas Networks.

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If you drive around Tushmore Roudabout then you need to be prepared to either give youself plenty of extra time OR to avoid the areas completely for the next 7 weeks.

SGN is replacing the old metal gas pipes with new plastic ones to ensure a reliable supply.

The works were agreed with West Sussex County Council and will commence on Monday 18th Nov and last approximately 7 weeks.

The work is being done in three phases with the first phase involving reducing the roundabout down to one lane with all approaching roads also reduced to a single lane.

SGN has listed below the full information for each phase:

Phase one:

We’ll begin working at Tushmore Gyratory roundabout on Monday 18 November. For safety, we’ll need to reduce the roundabout to one lane, with all roads approaching the roundabout also reduced to one lane.

Phase two:

Our engineers will then begin upgrading our pipe in the A23 Crawley Avenue at its junction with the Tushmore Gyratory roundabout. We’ll increase the roundabout and approaching roads from one lane to two lanes. However, the eastbound carriageway of the A23 Crawley Avenue will need to remain reduced to one lane.

Phase three:

We’ll then progress to carry out network upgrades near to Ifield Roundabout. For everyone’s safety, the eastbound carriageway will be reduced to one lane on its approach to Ifield Roundabout from Ifield Community College and between Ifield Roundabout and Tushmore Gyratory roundabout, too. The existing traffic lights and pedestrian crossings will remain in place during our project. The bus lane which runs north/south along the A23/A2219 London Road at Tushmore roundabout will be unaffected by this work.

You can read the full details in the leaflet SGN has produced by clicking here.

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