A PARKHALL woman who obtained more than £4,000 in benefits after failing to tell officials about a change in her circumstances has been spared jail time.

Kimberley Kelly secured £4,234.78 in Employment Support Allowance between August 2017 and June 2018.

But a change in her personal circumstances meant she wasn’t entitled to any of the money.

Kelly, 34, of Cherry Crescent, appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday for sentencing after pleading guilty to obtaining benefits to which she was not entitled by failing to give prompt notification of a change in circumstances.

She originally faced a further charge of obtaining £2,420.52 in housing benefit and £1,218.46 in council tax reduction, again by failing to notify officials of a change in her circumstances, but a plea of not guilty to that charge was accepted by the Crown.

Kelly’s solicitor, Judith Reid, said there had already been repayment of some of the money, but that “considerable rent arrears” had also built up.

Ms Reid said a background report by social workers did not make any mention of the potential for Kelly to be supervised, and helped, by social workers.

“The community needs to be paid back in some way,” Ms Reid said. “Ms Kelly appreciates that unpaid hours of work are realistic and relevant and she is capable of doing them.”

Sheriff William Gallacher told Kelly: “This is a situation in which the community sustains a loss.

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“I’m not going to get drawn in to whether you were living a delightful lifestyle as a result of your behaviour, but I have no doubt that the appropriate way to deal with this is for you to give back to the community.”

Kelly was told to do 100 hours of unpaid work within eight months as a punishment.

But the sheriff added: “This is real. This is not just you nodding your head and saying ‘okay’. If you don’t comply, the other options are much, much worse.”