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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Reality TV star cheated benefits
Lizzie Bardsley
Lizzie Bardsley was paid 37,500 in benefits before the programme
Reality TV star Lizzie Bardsley has been sentenced to 80 hours community service after being found guilty of benefit fraud.

Bardsley, 32, who appeared on Channel Four's Wife Swap, had denied receiving almost 3,800 from media work while claiming 37,500 a year in benefits.

The mother-of-eight, who said the cash went to charity and family, was found guilty by Rochdale magistrates.

Bardsley, of Hurstead Road, Milnrow, was also ordered to pay 2,400 costs.

Magistrates said Bardsley should have been aware the extra money amounted to a change in circumstances and declared the benefits to the Department of Work and Pensions.

Pay back

The money was earned from a topless photo shoot in a newspaper, celebrity magazine interviews and money for appearing on Wife Swap.

She will now have to pay back the 4,879 benefits overpayment, which will be taken from her current benefits.

Vincent Carr, prosecuting, also asked for 2,500 court costs.

After the verdict David Chad, defending Bardsley, said she intended to appeal against the court's decision.

He said Bardsley continues to maintain she did not keep any of the cash for her own financial gain but gave it away.

Taxi telephonist

Bardsley had told the court she gave 800 to her sister, Jenny Hallisey.

She also said she had donated money to a cot death charity after losing a 13-week-old son, Timmy Jay, in 1997.

But the prosecution said the cash given away had effectively been subsidised from the public purse through her benefit.

Bardsley now works about four-and-a-half hours a week as a telephonist for a taxi firm in Rochdale.

She has now stopped claiming many of the benefits she was on but is still in receipt of working tax and child tax credit.

Wife Swap star 'gave to charity'
06 Sep 05 |  Manchester
'Wife Swap' star's benefit charge
16 Nov 04 |  Manchester

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