A NEW Quay woman who gave away £138,000 but continued to claim benefits saying she was broke has been ordered to pay up or go to jail.

Susan Marion, aged 59, considered the inheritances she received in quick succession from her father, grandmother and aunt to be "tainted money" because, in her opinion, they had been cruel to animals.

Marion claimed to have suffered nightmares about what had happened to the animals and had become seriously depressed.

It emerged at Swansea crown court during a proceeds of crime hearing that she had given at least £118,000 to Jose Cirelli, who told Judge Keith Thomas he had used the money to buy The Old School House, Silian, near Lampeter.

Marion, who told the court she was now penniless and homeless but gave her address as Plas y Wern, Gilfachrheda, had been convicted after a trial of falsely claiming and receiving £18,417 in housing benefit and income support while having savings above the limit.

During her trial she argued that her father had kept battery chickens and her grandmother had been a sheep farmer. Her aunt had raced whippets and she considered all three activities to be cruel.

Judge Thomas ordered her to repay £19,521, the amount wrongly paid to her plus inflation, either by coming up with herself or getting it back from Mr Cirelli.

He said the money would go to the Department for Work and Pensions and Ceredigion County Council.

Marion told the court she was now in dispute with the DWP who refused to reinstate her benefits. She said she had recently applied for benefits and been turned down 10 times.

She argued she thought she had been wrongly denied more than £10,000 in benefits and that that should be deducted from the overall amount to be repaid.

Judge Thomas said he was not going to get involved in what was now going on between her and the DWP.

Mr Cirelli gave evidence and said the £118,000 he had received from Marion "had been a gift, she just gave it to me."

"It was a victimless crime. And now she is a victim of the DWP," he said.

Marion was given three months to pay or be jailed for six months.