Police smash suspected benefit fraud network

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POLICE have smashed a suspected city wide benefit fraud ring.

Dawn raids were carried out at homes in Lupset, Flanshaw, Stanley and Outwood during the operation which began on Tuesday.

Eleven people have been arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation and conspiracy to commit fraud in relation to benefit claims.

Police suspect those arrested are part of a city-wide gang who have fraudulently claimed a number of crisis loans of up to £300.

They believe the cash has then been distributed between members of the network, which also has connections in Barnsley and Tingley.

Insp Richard Close, of the Central neighbourhood police team (NPT), said: “This was a three-day joint operation between Central NPT and investigation officers from the Department of Work and Pensions.

“Early morning raids were conducted on numerous addresses both inside and outside the Wakefield area.”

“We are sending a clear warning that if you are cheating the system you will be caught.

“It is only a matter of time before the team comes knocking at your door.”

The raids were carried out after tip-offs from suspicious members of the community.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: “As part of an ongoing investigation in partnership with the Central neighbourhood police team, there have been several arrests on suspicion of fraudulent applications for social fund crisis loans.

“Anyone who suspects someone is fraudulently claiming benefits can call our National Benefit Fraud Hotline. Calls are treated in total confidence.”

To contact the Benefit Fraud Hotline call 0800 854440.

To call the Central NPT call 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.