Benefit con couple are caught out after tip-off

John Waterman, left, and John Rooney, admitted tending as genuine counterfeit notes at Gunwharf Quays

Man avoids jail after being caught spending fake £50 notes at Gunwharf Quays

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A COUPLE who swindled almost £70,000 of benefits were caught after an anonymous tip-off.

The eight-year con by Elizabeth Austin and Peter Brown was investigated by three councils, as well as the Department for Work and Pensions.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard the couple claimed they were living in the same property as tenant and resident landlord, allowing Austin to claim benefits as a single parent.

In fact, they were living together as a couple with shared outgoings and Brown was in full-time employment.

The court heard Austin claimed housing benefit at three different addresses: Netley Common, East Cosham and finally, Drift Road Clanfield.

An anonymous tip-off revealed they were a couple.

Austin was found guilty of eight counts of fraud and Brown was convicted of five.

Sue Hall, senior investigations officer at East Hampshire District Council, said: ‘This is an excellent outcome to a very challenging case.’

They will be sentenced on August 3.