VIDEO: Benefits cheat bin man is caught in the act

Share this article
0
Have your say

A benefit fraudster who lied he could "only walk two yards in 15 minutes" while working as a bin man has been given 54 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

When he made a claim for Disability Living Allowance in 2002, George Beacham claimed he needed a walking stick out of doors, had to have someone with him all the time as he was likely to fall, and had to stop and rest at regular intervals.

George Beacham claimed he needed a walking stick out of doors

George Beacham claimed he needed a walking stick out of doors

He told the authorities he needed help getting out of bed, had no control of his bowel movements and needed help to bathe and go to the toilet.

But damning covert footage by suspicious DWP investigators showed him walking unaided, lifting and emptying heavy binbags with both hands.

Officers found Beacham, 68, of Osborne Crescent, Morecambe, had been working for Lancaster City Council as a street warden from 2002 to 2006 and as a binman from 2006.

Preston Crown Court heard gaining employment did not necessarily stop someone from claiming the benefit, but if the nature of the work shows representations in the claim are not true, the person has not fulfilled their responsibility to notify an improvement to the authorities.

George Beacham lied he could "only walk two yardsin 15 minutes"

George Beacham lied he could "only walk two yardsin 15 minutes"

Prosecuting, Richard Bennett said Beacham was overpaid £45,441.45 and has since paid back £35,000 by cheque. He is continuing to pay back the remaining £9,000 in instalments.

He said: "The defendant had been in receipt of DLA from June 1993 to September 2015 when it was suspended.

"It's a benefit that helps with extra costs one may face if one is disabled and to apply he had to complete a form. On the strength of that he was deemed eligible.

"Video surveillance in July 2015 has shown the method and way he carried out his duties is clearly at odds with how he described his disability on his form.

In an interview, Beacham said he "made a mistake" when claiming he could only walk two yards in 15 minutes, and accepted he had not read the documents that accompanied his claim.

He wore headphones throughout the proceedings and was given a special chair in the dock.

He pleaded guilty of failing to promptly notify the DWP of a change of circumstances which would affect his benefit claim .

Recorder Stephen Bedford ordered him to pay £300 costs and a £140 surcharge.

A DWP spokesperson said: “Only a small minority of people try to cheat the benefits system, but cases like this show how we are rooting out those who are stealing taxpayers’ money and diverting it away from the people who really need it.”