A MOTHER who swindled the taxpayer out of almost £48,000 has been told to carry out 150 hours unpaid work.

Carole Chipperfield, aged 46, of Moorland Drive, Little Hulton, was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months, at Bolton Crown Court.

David Farley, prosecuting, said Chipperfield, who has a 10-year-old son with cerebral palsy, was a single parent when she initially made a legitimate claim for housing benefit and income support.

But when she began a relationship with and subsequently married Robert Tasker she failed to notify the authorities of her change in circumstances.

In all she claimed, in almost six years until December, 2012, £43,631 in income support, £3,982 housing benefit and £234 council tax benefit she was not entitled to.

Graham Robinson, defending, said Chipperfield was now paying back the money and a jail sentence would unfairly impact on her son.

Judge Timothy Stead agreed to suspend the jail sentence after hearing how the amount wrongly claimed had gradually built up.

He added: “I would like to think that you are as surprised and horrified as anyone else to discover the amount of money in this case.”

Chipperfield must also pay an £80 victim surcharge.