MORE than 180 benefit fraudsters in Huddersfield and Wakefield were fined last year.
The Department for Work and Pensions said 185 people in the area had to pay up after being interviewed under caution by fraud investigators.
They also had to repay the amounts they stole.
Another 64 cases were put forward for prosecution in the courts.
The figures were released as the DWP launched its latest ‘No ifs, no buts’ campaign.
Radio, newspaper and poster adverts will appear in Kirklees in the next six weeks.
Vernon Sanderson, area fraud investigation officer for Yorkshire and Humber, said: “Benefit thieves should beware: we can and do find out about people stealing benefits they’re not entitled to, and we can gather evidence against them in more ways than ever before.
“Benefit theft can result in a caution, prosecution, being fined, and even a prison sentence.
“In all cases the money has to be paid back, and in some cases property is confiscated.”
The campaign is aimed at people who deliberately fail to declare other earnings, claim as a single person when they are living with a partner or withhold savings or property.
DWP investigators have sweeping powers, including surveillance and filming and the right to check customers’ bank accounts.
Anti-fraud minister James Plaskitt added: “We take every instance of benefit theft seriously.
“Our message to those people considering benefit theft is simple: don’t do it, we will catch you.
“The public are fed up with benefit thieves stealing money intended for society’s most vulnerable people. There are no excuses.”
To report suspected fraudsters call the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440 or go online to www.dwp.gov.uk/benefit-thieves