A "NAIVE and gullible" woman allowed her personal details and bank account to be used for a benefits scam.

Blackburn magistrates heard Zara Hussain had £1,208 paid into her account but only retained £400 for herself.

She was told everything her friend's partner was doing was legitimate and while she thought things "weren't quite right" she did not contact the authorities because she didn't want to get anyone into trouble.

Hussain, 20, of Sunderland Street, Colne, pleaded guilty to retaining a wrongful credit. She was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay £85 costs and £20 victim surcharge.

Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said claims were made for benefits in quick succession which exploited a fault in the system. Claims were made with varying numbers of children and requirements for housing benefits.

"She admitted knowing about the first claim which was made by her friend's boyfriend but said she was told it was legitimate," said Mrs Yates. "She provided her personal and bank details and he did the rest."

Kamran Yousaf, defending, said Hussain was approached by a friend who said her boyfriend would handle everything and that it was all legal.

"Quite naively she handed over her personal details," said Mr Yousaf. "She knew nothing whatsoever about the claim. She was told she could keep £400 and the rest was returned to the man who made the claim. It seems they made further claims on her behalf without her knowing."