Leeds social club steward jailed for benefit fraud

A woman who illegally claimed more than £20,000 in benefits while working as the steward of her local social club has been sent to prison.

Friday, 19th February 2016, 7:22 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd March 2016, 9:56 am

Susan Kettlewell, 59, was jailed for 20 weeks after a court heard how she made dishonest claims for two years while running the bar at Beeston Sports and Social Club, Leeds.

Kettlewell pleaded guilty to two offences of dishonestly failing to notify of a change in circumstances affecting entitlement to benefit.

Leeds Crown Court heard Kettlewell made legitimate claims in July 2011 for employment support, housing and council tax benefit on the grounds that she was incapable of working.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Kirsten Mercer, prosecuting, said Kettlewell began working at the social club in February 2013.

She worked around 30 hours per week and was paid £7.15p an hour until the offending came to light in January last year.

Miss Mercer said Kettlewell was paid a total of £21,053 she was not entitled to claim.

Kettlewell was arrested and admitted the offences. She said she had continued to claim the money in order to clear debts.

Probation officer Mick Berry told the court that Kettlewell had been honest about her offending. He said: “She says she has never felt so ashamed in her life.”

Holly Betke, Kettlewell’s barrister, said her client had never been in trouble before and had no previous convictions.

She said Kettlewell initially agreed to be the steward on a temporary basis after being approached by the social club’s committee.

Miss Betke added: “She helped out on occasions and it became more of a regular position.

“She told them that they had to find a permanent replacement but they relied on her for two years.”

The court heard Kettlewell was currently repaying the amount she illegally claimed at £27 per week, the sum being deducted from her benefits.

Judge Geoffrey Marson, QD, said Kettlewell would be aged 77 by the time the amount was fully repaid.

Jailing her, he said: “Over a period of two years you quite dishonestly and persistently defrauded the public.

“I have no doubt that it would have gone on.

The judge added: “You are no doubt only ashamed because you have been caught.”