Blackpool fracking campaigner claimed disability benefits despite telling the DWP he was afraid to leave his house

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An anti fracking campaigner who claimed to benefit chiefs he was unable to leave his home was later caught on camera climbing onto a lorry during a protest at Little Plumpton.

John James Knox, 33, was found guilty of benefit fraud following a trial before Preston Crown Court.

The Department for Work and Penions said Knox was found to be claiming ESA as well as Disability Living Allowance for mobility, yet was overtly filmed partaking in demonstrations which included scaling moving lorries and mounting long demonstrations on top of them, while also shackling himself to other demonstrators for long periods of time.

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The overpayment of his personal independence payments (PIP) totalled almost £9,000.

Crown CourtCrown Court
Crown Court | jpimedia
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Anti-fracking protester handed fine for climbing on top of HGV

Knox remained on the roof from 8am until 10.30am the following day, and it had to park up. He was later fined after admitting wilful obstruction of the highway.

Knox, formerly of Dugdale Place, Blackpool, but now of Maplewood, Liverpool, pleaded not guilty to failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions over a change in circumstances.

But he was convicted after prosecutors said he had made a statement that he needed assistance bathing and dressing himself and leaving the house.

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Knox is pictured during fracking demonstration CREDIT: DWPKnox is pictured during fracking demonstration CREDIT: DWP
Knox is pictured during fracking demonstration CREDIT: DWP | other

Judge Andrew Jefferies QC adjourned his sentencing until March 9.

A DWP spokesman said: "Benefit fraud is a crime that diverts money from those who really need it. In addition to any sentence imposed by the court, people must pay back all the money they falsely obtained.

“We have zero tolerance of anyone fraudulently claiming benefits and will take swift action to investigate, supporting our partners and prosecutors to bring them to justice.”