A BENEFIT cheat who failed to put money aside to repay thousands of pounds she had gained in a fraudulent benefit claim, gambled that a judge wouldn’t jail her, a court heard.

Ashnee Flandorp, whose partner earns £40,000 a year, had been given five months to get together as much of the almost £12,000 she received, to which she was not entitled.

But despite thousands coming in to the family home each month the couple had set nothing aside, repaying the money at a paltry £82 a month.

Judge Robert Pawson criticised her lack of effort, pointing out it would take 12 years to repay the public purse at that rate.

The court heard Flandorp, 34, is now being pursued under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recoup the £11,960 she received

David Maunder, prosecuting told Swindon Crown Court that Flandorp started to claim employment and support allowance in October 2012 for herself and her dependant husband.

He said the claim came to an end in 2016 when husband Brandon, 36, got a job at the Circle Partnership hospital in Reading, Berks.

But between May 2015 and May 2016 her husband had worked at a Gloucester hospital earning between £240 and £1,500 a month.

In November and December 2015 he worked at the Great Western Hospital, earning £1,100 and £1,300 a month as well as doing a few months with another firm.

As a result his wife received £7,863 of ESA as well as £4,096 from the council in housing benefit, local housing allowance and council tax benefit.

Flandorp, of Bevisland, Eldene, pleaded guilty to three offences of failing to notify a change in circumstance to obtain benefits.

Martin Winter, defending, said that when the case was put off five months ago the couple had hoped to be able to borrow the money. However their inability to look after their finances meant they had such a low credit score they couldn’t get a loan.

He said they had not been spending on extravagant living, being in a rented home with children aged 10, six and five years old.

His client, a former dental nurse, was signed off sick and entertaining the children over summer then sending them back to school had been expensive.

Passing sentence the judge said “It seems to me you have made little, if any, effort to pay back any of the money. I am not convinced by what you have told Mr Winter."

He told her: “The suggestion you were, with a husband earning £40,000 a year, unable to put aside any money. I don’t think you have made any real effort whatsoever. It seems to me you took a gamble. You thought to yourself: 'I am not that well, I have got three children, is he really going to send me to prison?' The fact is I am not.”

He imposed a six month community order with a three-month curfew running from 6pm to 6am.