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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Askam man: £13k benefits cheat was rumbled playing football

An Askam man who falsely claimed more than £13,000 in disability benefits was rumbled after a surveillance officer spotted him playing football.

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runaround Paul Frazer of Askam was spotted playing football while claiming he could not walk unaided for more than 70 metres

Paul Frazer, of High Duddon Close, Askam, was yesterday given a three-month suspended prison sentence in Barrow Crown Court.

The 46-year-old had been claiming disability living allowance but failed to notify the Department of Work and Pensions that his condition had improved.

Frazer first began claiming DLA in July 2000 legitimately and in April 2006 he said he was no longer able to walk distances greater than 300m without discomfort; in 2007 he said he could not walk more than 70m unaided.

Miss Claire Thomas, prosecuting on behalf of the DWP, told the court how a surveillance operation from April 17 to June 13 observed Frazer on 36 occasions.

She said: “He was observed walking at a moderate pace, unaided, taking his daughter to school, being picked up by a van and playing football.”

Miss Thomas told the court how Frazer had claimed a total of £13,316.40 when his condition had improved.

She said: “He was interviewed on July 17 last year. He denied his condition had improved and said that he had not played football but when the evidence was put to him he accepted he had been playing football regularly.”

Miss Thomas said Frazer also accepted working with his brother, who runs a central heating business.

Mr Andrew Scott, defending, said: “His doctor informed him the best thing would be to do something and get more exercise, he accepts there was a change in himself and he felt better.”

Mr Scott told the court Frazer had been a “hard-working, industrious man’ but he had suffered a nervous breakdown in 1998.

Recorder Mr John Benson QC said: “You have claimed in the order of £13,000.

“When surveillance of your activities was undertaken between April to June you were seen playing football; you were seen accompanying your brother who runs a business, providing assistance as a second man.

“I notice in the pre-sentence report that you feel bitter towards the DWP for prosecuting you, this is a very irrational view to take.

“The false claim is wholly inexcusable and unforgivable.”

Frazer was sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for two years with an £80 statutory surcharge.

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