Barnet Borough Council says it has prevented housing fraud worth £11.9million in the past year.

Figures show the authority’s corporate anti-fraud team discovered millions of pounds of fraudulent activity relating to tenancies and the Government's right to buy scheme.

The team managed to recover 63 illegally sublet council houses after an investigation and a tenancy fraud ‘amnesty’ held last year.

Each house is worth £150,000 – the average cost of building a new social housing unit – giving a total figure of £9.4m.

During the same time, the team successfully prevented 11 instances of people attempting to take advantage of the Right to Buy scheme despite not being entitled to take part.

This gives tenants the chance to buy the property they are living in with a discount of £100,000, meaning the team prevented £1.1m of fraud from being committed.

A further £1.1m was also recovered in benefit fraud and those responsible were investigated and prosecuted.

Councillor Richard Cornelius, leader of Barnet Council, said: “The significant amount of fraud being detected illustrates just how important it is for the council to work as hard as possible to protect the public purse.

“Nowadays it is more important than ever that money goes into providing services and not to those intent on cheating the system.

“I am sure this sends out a very clear message to anyone committing or contemplating fraud, that you will be caught.”