Crawley woman sentenced over false housing claim


Crawley Borough Council used social media sites to help bring a prosecution against a woman who tried to fraudulently obtain a council home.

A council spokesman said concerns were raised about an application for housing made by Gemma Henley, 24, of Sandpiper Close, Ifield.

The application to join the housing register was made in December 2013.

The spokesman added: “Concerns were raised that Miss Henley made a false housing application by failing to declare her true circumstances; in particular that her partner owned an undeclared property in Bewbush and also has her own room at her mother’s home.

“Council officers made credit checks and looked on social media sites to collate evidence against Miss Henley.”

Henley pleaded guilty at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (July 16) to two counts of making a false statement in her application.

She was sentenced to a conditional discharge for 12 months on each offence.

She was also ordered to pay Crawley Borough Council £200 in costs and a £15 victims’ surcharge.

The council spokesman said Henley had been removed from the housing register due to false information being supplied.

Cllr Stephen Joyce, Cabinet member for housing, said: “Demand for council housing is high; there are more than 2,000 households on the waiting list.

“This is why our Fraud Team thoroughly investigates applications to ensure that our housing is allocated to those who need it the most.”

Anyone who thinks they know someone who has made a false application to be housed, not living at their council property or claiming benefits fraudulently can call the council free and in confidence 24 hours a day on 0800 634 0180 or email