PEOPLE who illegally claim single person council tax discounts could soon face jail.
The warning comes as East Hampshire District Council announced its move to catch those committing the crime by comparing a network of databases with other councils.
The documents will identify homes that claim the discount but appear to have more than one person living there.
There are nearly 49,000 properties in the district and around 13,700 of them receive single person occupancy discount.
It is estimated that around 4 per cent of these are not eligible for the discount, costing the council around £200,000 a year.
Brian Wood, the council’s revenues manager, said: ‘Most council tax discounts are being claimed honestly and legitimately, but there are times where a household’s circumstances can change and people forget to tell us.
‘But there is a minority who believe they can cheat the system and claim discounts that they know they are not entitled to. This new system of electronic checks will catch them.’