A MUM-of-two who cheated the benefits system out of tens of thousands of pounds has been given a suspended jail term.

Lynne Beamish, 33, admitted falsely claiming about £29,000 over a three-and-a-half-year period.

Mold Crown Court was told yesterday that if she had been honest she would still have been entitled to some benefits.

Beamish, of Stanley Place, Shotton, was given an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for a year. She was also ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work for the community.

Judge Dafydd Hughes said: "The courts view these matters very seriously."

But there were a number of features in her favour, he said.

She had pleaded guilty, she had no previous convictions and the judge said he was impressed by the references written on her behalf and by the fact she was making strenuous efforts to pay back the money.

Christopher Moss, prosecuting, said Beamish claimed income support from the Department for Work and Pensions and housing benefit and council tax benefit from Flintshire Council.

The authorities had launched an investigation in 2006 but there was insufficient evidence to proceed. She was, however, cautioned over an undisclosed bank account.

The investigation was reopened when it was suspected the father of her child was living with her.

It showed Ian Barrie, her partner, had given her address as his address to his employers and to a holiday company.

He gave her address when he applied for a passport and a driving licence and they had opened a joint bank account from that address.

His wages were paid into that account which was used for general living expenses, Sky television and holidays.

Robin Boag, defending, said it had been a genuine claim for benefits to begin with and

Beamish was now working hard and paying back £70 a month.

Mr Boag said Beamish was ashamed and remorseful.

It was not a case of "living it up" on the wrongful claim for benefits, he said, adding the money had been used to care for her family and meet the needs of her children.