A BENEFITS cheat, who swindled the state of almost £50,000, is being forced to sell her home to repay the cash.

Mother-of-four Patricia Burland’s claim for income support on the basis of being a single parent was valid at the outset but she failed to tell the authorities that from March 2006 her husband Adrian was back living with her full-time.

She was caught after the Department of Works and Pensions kept surveillance on her Southampton home. It confirmed her husband’s van was parked outside early in the morning and late at night.

Initially she claimed he had been living there for some nights in the week but then confessed they had began living together again.

She told investigators she was scared her benefit would stop and her husband would leave her. She was also in arrears with her mortgage.

When she appeared before Southampton Crown Court in July to admit two charges of failing to notify a change of circumstances it was revealed she was having a swimming pool built in the back garden of her home in Wodehouse Road. She maintained she was paying for it with the help of her sons.

She received a 24 week suspended sentence coupled with 12 months supervision.

Now she has returned to the court to face a confiscation hearing. Prosecutor Patrick Moran told the court the fraud amounted to £47,914.28 and her realisable assets stood at £76.569.32.

Andy Houston, defending, confirmed Burland would have to sell her home to pay the cash back.

Burland was given six months to pay with up to 18 months in default of payment.