A WOMAN who was a "victim of her own kindness" found herself in dire financial straits.

Blackburn magistrates heard that during her financial struggle Heather Mackley failed to reveal her income which would have affected her entitlement to the carers allowance she was paid for looking after her mother.

And over the course of three years she received more than £9,000 she was not entitled to.

Mackley, 23, of St Nicholas Avenue, Sabden, pleaded guilty to dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances which affected her entitlement to benefit. She was made subject to a community order for 12 months with 15 rehabilitation activity days, fined £20 and ordered to pay £85 costs.

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said the claim for carers allowance was made when Mackley was working for Sainsburys. In April 2015 2015 she produced a P45 to show her employment had finished.

"Evidence is available to show she started working for Tesco the following day and this was not reported to the department," said Mr Robinson. He said over the next three years there had been jobs with various employers resulting in the overpayment.

"She accepted that she knew the rules and that she should have declared her income," said Mr Robinson.

Paul Huxley, defending, said his client's mother had been very ill and she had become her carer. He said she had also taken on many of her mother's financial problems and tried to sort them out.

"As a result she now finds herself in dire financial straits," said Mr Huxley. "She accrued her own debts while snipping away at her mother's. The £60 a week carers allowance, which initially was totally genuine, became vital to them keeping a roof over their heads. The longer it went on the harder it was to stop."

Mr Huxley said his client now had a good job with excellent prospects.

"If she loses that job as a result of this conviction things will explode even more rapidly than before," said Mr Huxley. "She has ended up saddled with debt that wasn't really hers and is a victim of her own kindness."