A Goodwick woman who dishonestly claimed nearly £20,000 in housing benefit has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Elizabeth Angela Sinnott, of Harbour Village, pleaded guilty to dishonestly making a false statement to obtain a benefit when she appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates on Monday, September 21.

Ann Griffiths, prosecuting, told the court Sinnott had been over paid a total of £19,728.73 after making a false statement to Pembrokeshire County Council in December 2012 that she was paying rent.

She was found to be living in her daughter’s property, who was not charging her to stay there.

Miss Griffiths said: “It is a high amount, over a significant period of time.”

The court heard that Sinnott, 69, was previously of clean character, and had been paying the amount back for the past two years.

Tom Lloyd, defending, said: “There is no shying away from the fact that the amount taken is significant.

“She has never been before the court before. She is paying the money back at a rate of £60 a month.”

Mr Lloyd added: “She is nearly 70 years old and of completely clean character, who accepts wrong doing. She is mortified to be here.

“When her husband passed away money was extremely tight, and that was the motivation for making the claim in this way.”

Magistrates accepted jurisdiction to sentence Sinnott and handed her a 20-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

She was ordered to pay £200 in costs and a surcharge.