A MOTHER of six and her former partner who together swindled more than £50,000 in benefits have each been spared jail sentences.
Carolyn Holmes, 43, and her ex-partner, Stephen Barnes, 46, both pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to two charges of conspiracy to defraud between January 2000 and May 2003.
Teresa Loftus, prosecuting, told the court that the couple, who have now separated, were claiming benefits while working.
The court heard that Holmes, of Ravenscroft Road, Birkenhead, ran a catering business called Mrs B's Pantry.
She and Barnes, of Harrogate Road, Rock Ferry, worked for Birkenhead Park Cricket Club.
Miss Loftus said Barnes was claiming for incapacity benefit on the basis that he was unfit to work and Holmes was claiming council tax and housing benefit.
The court heard that the total overpayment for both of them was £50,000.
The offences came to light after an anonymous tip-off.
Andrew Downie, defending Holmes, said she has six children all under the age of 14.
Judge Denis Clark told Barnes his offending passed the custody threshold, but said he would not send Holmes to prison because of her children.
Judge Clark sentenced Holmes to a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years and Barnes to a 200-hour community order.