A St Albans teacher must carry out 80 hours' unpaid work after being exposed as a benefit cheat.

Debbie Lavelle, 50, received more than £9,000 in council tax and housing benefit between June 2012 and January 2016.

But St Albans Magistrates' Court was told on Tuesday she did not declare that nearly £300,000 had been deposited into her account on June 7, 2012, following her divorce.

Lavelle, of Hill End Lane, St Albans, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to obtain a benefit payment on June 21, 2012. She was of previous good character.

St Albans magistrates heard the mother of two did not give the council full and accurate details of her capital.

Pretti Sarin, defending, said Lavelle, who works two days a week as a supply teacher, had repaid the money.

She said: "It was not a fraud at the outset. She is a teacher and had a messy divorce."

The magistrates were told she suffered from depression and anxiety.

They passed a 12 month community order, with conditions that she carries out 80 hours' unpaid work, pay £85 costs and a £85 victim surcharge.