A MARRIED couple from Worcester dishonestly obtained more than £20,000 in benefits by lying about their circumstances.

Worcester Magistrates Court heard that Andrew and Susan Maggs, of Fairmont Close, Warndon, had not informed authorities that Mrs Maggs had been in paid employment for a while, and that as a result received benefits to which they were not entitled.

Mr Maggs, aged 52, pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to inform Worcester City Council over his wife’s change of circumstances, between July 2013 and June 2018.

And Mrs Maggs, aged 67, admitted that on November 3, 2014, she made a false statement to the Department for Work and Pensions.

The court heard that Mr Maggs had benefitted to the sum of £4,006.35 on housing benefits that he was not entitled to.

And Mrs Maggs had obtained £15,891.08 in Pension Credit under false pretences.

The court heard that investigations into benefit fraud are often complicated and time-consuming, which is why this prosecution referred back to offences that took place as long ago as 2013.

Mark Lister, representing the couple, said that they are both working on zero-hours contracts and their joint income is about £1,000 a month, but in the last six weeks they had not earned anything at all.

He said: “This whole affair has had a devastating effect on Mrs and Mrs Maggs.

“They were interviewed about these matters in December last year, and since then, it has been hanging over their heads for the last eight months.”

Mr Maggs was sentenced to do 80 hours of community service, and told to pay £85 costs and £85 as a victim surcharge.

And Mrs Maggs was given 100 hours of community service, and told to pay £85 costs and £85 as a victim surcharge.