A MUM-OF-TWO claimed benefits despite being left thousands of pounds from her grandmother which she spent most of on drink, a court heard.

Jennifer Marsden admitted benefits fraud at Burnley Crown Court after it was declared she was ‘unlawfully’ living on housing benefit after she received thousands of pounds in family inheritance.

The court heard the 26-year-old, who lives in rented accommodation, had failed to notify the Burnley Council and the Department for Work and Pensions on about the ‘change in her circumstances’ twice between June 2015 and January 2017.

The court also heard that the young mother’s inheritance money has gone after she ‘squandered’ a large portion of it on alcohol following the death of her grandmother.

Marsden, of Cleaver Street, Burnley, was ordered to repay £11,000 fraudulently claimed in benefits.

Defending, Lee Hughes said he thought Marsden’s decision making had been affected by the death of Jennifer’s grandmother and that she expressed ‘remorse’.

He said: “Her grandmother was like a parent (to Jennifer). Her death had an effect on Jennifer as she lost the advice of a close relative.

“There have been drink and mental health issues and she does not get on with her aunt.

“The alcohol issues are now behind her.

“The mental health issues are still alive but she did book an appointment with the mental health team today and is seeking help.”

Judge Michael Laprell said he accepted the benefits claim was not fraudulent at the outset but was later down the line.

He said: "A large sum of the inheritance money has been squandered."

He sentenced Marsden to a two-year community order, which will have to include 25 days with a member of the probation service, 15 days at Lancashire Women’s Centre and 10 days seeking employment.

A curfew was also imposed for 20 weeks between 8pm to 6am when she must stay home.

She is paying nearly £30 a week, which amounts to £1,500 a year, and at the current rate it would take her seven years to repay the full amount.