BENEFIT fraud in East Dunbartonshire has reached an unprecedented rate with more than £750,000 being tracked down last year.

The scale of the embezzlement was revealed following an investigation by a team of specialist council investigators and represents an increase of over 50 per cent from the previous year’s total.

During the investigation, action was taken against 40 offenders, 19 of whom were reported to the procurator fiscal.

In November last year Kirkintilloch woman Angela Weldon was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said, “The amount of fraud detected has once again exceeded previous year’s figures.

“In the course of the last four years over £2million of fraud has been identified.

“We will continue to make full use of all available powers in our fight against the criminals who continue to steal from the law-abiding tax payers of our community.

“This is a high priority for East Dunbartonshire Council and we will continue to do all we can to recover this money while also making sure that those who do qualify for benefits receive them.”

“Our fraud team has worked tirelessly to ensure that the residents of East Dunbartonshire are protected from these benefit cheats. This would not be possible without the work of our dedicated investigators and the crucial information provided by members of the public.”