A 61-year-old council cleaner has been jailed after she confessed to cheating the benefits system of more than £76,000 over six years.

Karen Henry pleaded guilty to 12 counts of falsely obtaining benefits and was sentenced by a judge at Bradford Crown Court to 27 months in prison. The court heard last Thursday that Henry used two false names to secure benefit payments, building up £50,000 in undeclared savings.

All the while she worked up to 70 hours a week. Henry, of The Poplars, Sutton, did receive legitimate disability payments because of a foot condition.

But the court was told by prosecutor Teresa Loftus that her personal circumstances changed in 2000 when she married Ian McGhie, in Hawaii, with whom she then jointly owned a house. Her health improved and she returned to work as a cleaner earning between £100 and £300 a week.

She failed to notify the authorities, despite several chances to do so, and she made five false claims for benefit payments under the name of Carole Linton.

In 2005 she obtained an additional national insurance number using a false passport under the name of Caron McGhie and made seven claims for benefits up until she was arrested last July.

The Department for Work and Pensions stumbled across discrepancies when it conducted a random search of records.

She was put under surveillance for six months and her house was searched. Documents, three passports and more than £1,500 in cash were recovered.

Henry admitted four counts of falsely claiming housing support, two counts regarding council tax, two for pension credit, two for disability living allowance and two for income support.

The cash paid for holidays to Sri Lanka, Kenya, Egypt, Mauritius and Mexico.

In mitigation, Henry's barrister John Edwards said: "This defendant is a frugal woman, she lives simply and for a long time her one little luxury has been holidays."

Judge Robert Bartfield sentenced Henry to 27 months in prison for the offences she committed as Carole Linton and an 18-month sentence to run concurrently for the offences she committed as Caron McGhie.

He said: "This was a carefully thought out and persistent fraud.

"The consequences for the public purse have been considerable and benefit cheats like you mean that legitimate claims come under scrutiny and there is less money for those who really need it. The motivation was a very simple one - greed."