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Last Updated: Friday, 29 October, 2004, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
Policewoman guilty of deception
A woman who claimed 13,800 in benefits after joining Greater Manchester Police has been convicted of deception.

Rachel White, 31, now of the Ladysmith, Ashton-under-Lyme, continued to claim the benefits despite starting her new job, a court heard.

A jury at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court found her guilty by majority verdict on Friday.

White, who denied all eight deception charges, will be sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on November 19.

'Not entitled'

The court heard the married mother-of-three continued to claim income support, housing and council tax benefits, until April 2003, having started work as a police officer on July 23, 2001.

She admitted receiving the benefits, which she began claiming after being made redundant in May 2001 from another job, but said she thought the office would have been automatically notified of her employment.

Jonathan Rogers, prosecuting, told the court: "Rachel White knew she was not entitled to those benefits.

"If she thought she was entitled to those benefits, why didn't she renew her claim for them in April 2003?"

Forms 'not digested'

Bernadette Baxter, defending, said White had been juggling her work and family commitments.

She added: "As those forms came through the door they were not being read and digested.

"This lady did the wrong thing. She made a mistake which she accepted in her interview. But she did not do it deliberately."

A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Police said White would be subject to a misconduct hearing.

She said although the police officer was not currently suspended because she was on maternity leave, should she return to work before the misconduct hearing she would be immediately suspended.

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