A CRACKDOWN on 'sheds with beds' is being planned by council chiefs, a report reveals.
Civic Centre bosses are looking at how to tackle the problem of backyard buildings illegally being used for accommodation.
The plan, outlined in the borough's latest corporate anti-fraud team progress report, will involve staff in the council's planning, private sector housing and council tax departments.
The Chronicle highlighted the issue in November after four Conservative councillors walked out of a planning meeting because they felt the problem was not being taken seriously enough.
Councillor Sheila O'Reilly, who led the walk-out, accused Labour of undoing the 'good work' of the previous Tory administration.
Residents, who asked to remain anonymous, said they had warned the council repeatedly about illegal developments in their neighbourhood but no action had been taken.
The council insisted at the time that it took such complaints very seriously and always investigated them thoroughly.
The anti-fraud progress report, due to be discussed at Tuesday's (January 10) audit committee meeting, also reveals the council claimed back nearly £1 million in fraudulently claimed benefits and wages during the first eight months of 2011/12.
The figure, nearly three times the target, included £635,000 in housing benefit.
There were 11 successful prosecutions, 10 penalties issued and 35 official cautions during the period.
The successful cases included that of a council worker who fraudulently claimed nearly £6,000 in housing benefits between 2007 and 2009.