Benefits cheat who claimed he needed crutches to walk filmed playing cricket

A deceitful dad who swindled £16,000 in benefits by saying he couldn't walk without crutches was snagged when he was filmed playing cricket.

Kenneth Hodgson, 49, was secretly filmed as he dived to stop the ball, chased after it and threw it to his wicket keeper.

Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) sent investigators to Highley Cricket Club near Bridgnorth, Shropshire, to record Hodgson for hours as he fielded for 40 overs.

But he had claimed Disability Living Allowance , now called Personal Independence Payment (PIP), for years, a court heard yesterday.

In a self assessment renewal form which he signed on August 10, 2010, the man wrote: "I have to walk everywhere with my elbow crutches.

"On good days crutches are sufficient but on bad days I need more support hence I do not go outdoors, so stay in."

Shropshire Star says the father also claimed he had four crumbling spinal discs and nerve damage to his legs.

Telford Magistrates Court heard the defendant told the Examining Medical Practitioner in January 2011 he only went out "once a week to watch his son play rugby".

But he admitted failing to notify change of circumstances affecting entitlement to social security benefit. It cost the taxpayer £16,449, Shropshire Star says.

Magistrates gave him a 12-month community order, 60 hours unpaid work and ordered him to pay court and prosecution costs and a victim surcharge totalling £405.

The footage, played in court yesterday, was captured after the DWP were given a tip-off Hodgson had lied on the form.

JPs had heard Hodgson, of Bridgnorth, confessed to fielding, batting and bowling on separate occasions.

He failed to tell DWP his condition improved and claimed benefits he wasn't entitled to between May 3, 2014 and April 24, 2018.

Shakel Ahmed, defending, said Hodgson has been paying the money back directly to the DWP for the last 12 months.

A spokesman for the DWP said: "Only a small minority of benefit claimants are dishonest, but cases like this show how we are catching those who cheat the system and divert taxpayers' money from the people who need it.

"We are determined to catch those we suspect of fraudulently claiming benefits by following up on tip-offs, undertaking surveillance and working with local councils."

Anyone who suspects someone of fraudulently claiming benefits can call the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440.

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