A “REMORSEFUL” children’s care worker who pocketed £59,000 in benefits she wasn’t entitled to has been struck off.

Tracey McHugh claimed thousands in child and working tax credits over a period of seven years despite the fact she was married and her husband had a job.

When the fraud was uncovered the mother of twins, who is from East Kilbride but was employed in Glasgow, said her husband had been “intermittently absent” from the family home.

McHugh was convicted at Hamilton Sheriff Court after pleading guilty to a breach of the Tax Credits act on November 13 last year and was ordered to do 300 hours of community service.

She concealed the criminal record from her employers, South Lanarkshire Council, for a month and failed to alert the social services industry regulator.

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The court was told the 37-year-old day centre care worker had been claiming tax credits fraudulently from January 2010 to January 30, 2017.

An inquiry by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) was told the care worker carried out her community service in a children’s charity shop and plans to continue volunteering after her six-month order is completed.

She has set up a cleaning business and does not plan to work in the care industry.

The inquiry was told her husband was “intermittently absent” from the family home, which was said to have had an “adverse impact” on her.

However, the SSSC said it had no option but to impose the most serious sanction because her conduct was “fundamentally incompatible” with remaining on the care register.

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The council added: “You engaged in a serious deliberate act which was a significant abuse of trust,

a serious departure from standards and a pattern of unacceptable behaviour.

“Whilst the panel accepted it was a difficult time for you and that you have since shown some limited insight and remorse, the panel could not ignore the activity took place over seven years, that it represented a pattern of behaviour and involved large sums of money.

“The panel viewed the behaviour as being very serious and at the higher end of the scale of seriousness.”

Child Tax Credit helps with the costs of raising a child for those on a low income and is being replaced by Universal Credit.