Council bosses claw back thousands of pounds from benefit cheats

�20 pound note. (28040956)
�20 pound note. (28040956)

More than £33,000 has been confiscated from benefit cheats in Wakefield using the council’s anti-fraud powers.

Research shows Wakefield Council is one of only a handful in Yorkshire that is using the powers available to it under Proceeds of Crime legislation.

It forces benefit cheats to hand back money they collected fraudulently from the taxpayer.

Wakefield Council has confiscated £33,000 in the past four years. Kirklees clawed back £64,000, sharing the money with the proceeds with the Home Office and courts service.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has told the country’s increasingly cash-strapped councils they should be using the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act to confiscate every penny possible from benefit cheats in order to boost town hall coffers.

Scarborough Council, in partnership with the police and other agencies, has recovered £500,000.