Brother and sister pretended to be a couple to claim Dagenham council house

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A brother and sister pretended to be a couple in order to con authorities into giving them a two-bedroom council house in east London.

Aaron Clark and Rachelle Barritt, from Norfolk, claimed to be a couple so they could fraudulently live in the house in Alibon Road, Dagenham.

However, council officers launched an investigation after discovering Barritt was actually living in Norfolk with her partner and children.

She had left the council house to her brother after they were granted the tenancy under false pretences.

On Friday, the pair were handed 10-week prison sentences suspended for 12 months after pleading guilty at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court.

They had admitted maintaining the lie about their relationship over the years as they knew they would not be granted a joint tenancy otherwise.

Councillor Dominic Twomey, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “To hear a brother and sister have claimed to be a couple to cheat their way to a council house is morally bankrupt.

“Thanks to our diligent investigations team we were able to uncover their deceit and we are now able to hand over the property to a local family in need.”

Magistrates also ordered Barritt and Clark to wear a three month electronic tag and to pay the council costs of £465.

Barking and Dagenham Council also urged anyone to contact their investigators if they suspect someone of housing fraud. They are available on 0208 227 2775 or

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