A benefit cheat who swindled more than £17,000 in disability allowance was caught after he was filmed – playing BADMINTON.
Super-fit Keith Walklate, 61, claimed it took him 10 minutes to walk just 30ft with a walking stick because of osteoarthritis in his knee.
But in fact the retired history teacher was a fitness fanatic who played badminton four times a week.
He also pumped iron at the gym four times a week and regularly went on gruelling bike rides with his wife.
Between August 2006 and July 2009 Walklate claimed £17,205.95 – the highest category of disability living allowance available.
But he was caught when suspicious neighbours tipped off the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) about his dodgy claims.
Investigators secretly filmed Walklate playing energetic badminton games seven times in two months last year.
Today Walklate was told to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work when he appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
He pleaded guilty to failing to notify the DWP that his capabilities had improved while claiming disability living allowance.
Sentencing Walklate, Judge Mark Eades said his crimes will cause ”disgust and fury” among the public.
He told him: ”While you recognise the views that your fellow citizens have of people who take benefits while they are fit you understand that it creates a great deal of disgust and fury in certain people’s minds and you will have to live with that.
”It seems to me this case does not cross the custody threshold. I bare in mind you have paid all the money back.
”This is not a toothless sentence.”
The court heard how Walklate legitimately claimed disability allowance in February 2005 after suffering from osteoarthritis in his knee.
But he failed to tell the DWP his condition had improved and continued to claim the top rate of disability allowance.
He stated on the renewal form he needed the support of his wife to climb steps and in getting in and out of bed and using the toilet.
Laura Hobson, prosecuting, said: ”The defendant claimed it was virtually impossible to walk and took him 10 minutes to walk 10 to 15 metres with a walking stick.
”On March 9 last year at about 5pm the defendant was seen leaving his home and driving to a sports centre and walking from his car to the entrance.
”He played badminton continuously from 6.50pm to 7.15pm and was seen running in a shuffling manner.
”He was able to play the sport in the usual manner that someone would expect.
”He said in an interview he started exercising in 2006 on the advice of his knee surgeon.
”He admitted his condition had improved since he filled in the form and that he had three sessions of badminton a week and occassionally one on Sunday which usually lasted an hour.
”He bought a mountain bike which he exercised on and also one for his wife.
”He used the gym four days a week and that was an hour each time.
”During his claim there was an obligation to inform the DWP if his condition changed or if it improved.”
DWP investigators recorded him playing badminton on March 9, 12, 17, 19 and on April 20, 21, 27 last year.
Jason Halt, defending, said Walklate had already paid the money he claimed back.
He added: ”I spoke to the defendant before the case and he says that it takes a life time to establish a good reputation and moment to lose it.”
Walklate refused to comment outside court.
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