A Harlow couple who committed a number of housing tenancy fraud offences and were taken to court by Harlow Council have pleaded guilty.
Kellie and Mark Peachey were found to have made false declarations about their income in order to apply for and obtain a two-bedroom council house. Both were sentenced to individual Community Service Orders.
This property has since been reclaimed by the council and been given to another local family on the housing needs register.
Following lengthy proceedings at Chelmsford Crown Court, on 3 September, a joint confiscation order was granted by the Court requiring Mr and Mrs Peachey to pay the sum of £3,138 within three months.
The judge explained that failure to pay this within the given time could result in imprisonment for up to six months.
The council was also awarded £18,814.80 in court costs, which Mr and Mrs Peachey must pay within 24 months.
Commenting on the result, Councillor Mark Wilkinson, portfolio holder for housing, said: “I am very pleased with this result. I give my thanks to the housing and legal teams who worked closely together to bring this case to a successful conclusion. It sends out a strong message to anyone thinking of committing housing tenancy fraud.
“The fact that council housing is in short supply makes defrauding us in this way an even more serious issue. We will always use all the powers we have available to deal with housing tenancy fraud.
“If you suspect that housing tenancy fraud has been or is being committed, please do report it to us in complete confidence on 01279 446353 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org