Crisis loan scam gang

Allison Blythe, left, and Mathew Rock, right in yellow at Wakefield Magistrates court.
Allison Blythe, left, and Mathew Rock, right in yellow at Wakefield Magistrates court.

A GANG has pleaded guilty to its part in a large-scale crisis loan scam.

The group of men and women, aged between 19 and 30, obtained crisis loans worth £15,000 from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) at Crowther House on Thornhill Street.

They all appeared at Wakefield Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, where few details about their operation were revealed.

DWP prosecutor Julia Harrow said the charges related to 88 claims, totalling £14,914.70p, made between 2009 and 2012.

Matthew Rock, 22, of Esther Avenue, Lupset, pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud and 16 charges of entering into an arrangement with the other 12 defendants to gain crisis loan payments.

District judge Marie Mallon sent the case to crown court, which will hear how each person was involved with Rock before sentencing.

She said: “This is a complex case and a serious set of allegations.

“You are all facing different charges alleging different criminal behaviour. The overall allegation is one of very serious criminal behaviour.

“It is right that one judge and one court should decide the degree of involvement for all of you.”

Allison Blythe, 25, of Canal Lane, Stanley, pleaded guilty to fraud and two charges of entering into an arrangement with Rock over the stolen crisis loan payments.

Amanda Siobahn Hendry, 22, of Carlton Street, Horbury, Matthew Jackson, 21, of Station Road, Ossett and Carla Jackson, 22, of Thomas Hill House, Horsefair, Pontefract, pleaded guilty to two charges.

Thomas Philip Armstrong, 20, of Cobb Avenue, Lupset, Jack Crawshaw, 20, of Middleton Road, Morley, Graham John Freer, 30, of Haigh Moor Avenue, Tingley, Kelly Marie Hirst, 22, of Walker Street, Ealsheaton, Zoe Louise Bailey, 28, of Phoenix Court, Wakefield and Lynsey Roebuck, 19, of Litell Royd, Streethouse, all pleaded guilty to one charge.

Rebecca Louise Ainsworth, 22, of Temperance Hall, Morley, pleaded guilty to fraud.

And Andrew Robert Blythe, 22, of Marsh Croft, Knottingley, admitted his part in two offences, but disputed two further offences.

They were all given bail and are expected to appear before Leeds Crown Court next month.

Crisis loans are short-term interest-free payments available from the government to provide financial help with an emergency or disaster.

They are given to people whose health or safety is at risk as a result of having no money.