A WOMAN claimed her dead grandmother's pension each week for almost FIVE YEARS pocketing more than £40,000 pounds, a court heard.

Despite Rebecca Drawwater's grandmother having been dead since 2007, the 35-year-old used her documents to claim her State pension at £159.55 a week between 2013 and 2017.

However, despite scamming taxpayers out of £43,259 pounds and having 26 convictions with 53 previous offences, a judge allowed her to walk free from court handed down a six month prison sentence suspended for one year.

She was also given a one month daily curfew not allowing her to leave her home between 8pm and 6am each day except Wednesdays for volunteer work.

John Upton, prosecuting at Reading Crown Court, said an ex-boyfriend told police about the long-running scam when the couple broke up.

He said: "Drawwater made weekly trips to the McColls newsagents in Woodley to withdraw the cash but stopped when a manager asked for more up to date documents.

"This is an offence that was discovered when the defendant had been withdrawing the pension of her grandmother for four years.

"She had been withdrawing her grandmother's pension since May 2, 2013.

"Her grandmother had been dead in Australia for some years."

The fraud happened between 2013 and 2017 at a time when Drawwater was homeless and in what the court heard was an abusive relationship but stopped after the split.

Helena Duong, defending, said: "She was in an abusive relationship at the time of this offence and he was encouraging her to do it.

"She is someone of a very chaotic lifestyle, she has not had much contact with her relatives.

"She has been living a chaotic lifestyle for all of her adult life and since late 2013 she became homeless and over that period this offence was committed.

"She was living as a homeless woman and it was only since Christmas last year and spending time away from her partner, has she been able to bring some stability to her life."

Judge Emma Nott said: "Her involvement in these matters has helped her to gain some sense of value in her own life and bring some motivation to deal with what is a gripping addiction.

"If sentenced to a period of imprisonment, all of that progress will be lost."

"The claim was fraudulent from the outset. Despite what she maintains today, she knew full well that her grandmother was dead.

"She managed to obtain the documents she needed and found out the process.

"You are a long standing heroin addict, the addiction is so entrenched that you have found it impossible to put it behind you.

"When you had the courage to end it, it was him who called the authorities. That is not an excuse but it provides some context."

Speaking of giving Drawwater another chance, Judge Nott said: "There is little to give me any confidence that this will work however I am giving you a chance because I think you are genuine and you are going to have the help you need."

Drawwater, of London Road, Reading admitted one charge of fraud by false representation and one charge of acquiring criminal property.