A benefit fraudster who claimed to be crippled by back pain was caught on camera – working as a top JUDO instructor.
David Roberts received the highest rate of mobility-based disability allowance after claiming he was practically wheelchair-bound and could not even wash himself.
But the 47-year-old was caught in an undercover sting operation by the Department of Work and Pensions working as a judo sensei, hurling a student across a practice mat.
Roberts, a fifth-level judo blackbelt, pleaded guilty to dishonestly failing to disclose information at Warrington Crown Court.
He narrowly avoided prison after being sentenced to six months, suspended for a year, and ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work.
The hearing on Friday heard how Roberts claimed he was crippled by a bad back and arthritis in his legs which left him in constant pain.
He said he could not walk unaided and that his mobility was so impaired he could not wash himself, shower or go to the toilet unaided.
But while raking in benefits he was also teaching judo to classes in Runcorn and Frodsham, Cheshire, at the Go Dojo Judo school he established in 2002.
The DWP undercover surveillance team filmed him carrying heavy loads from his car, as well as training with students by repeatedly throwing them to the ground.
A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “Roberts claimed to have a bad back, arthritis in his right knee and left leg, and that walking was very slow and he was in constant pain.
“He said he had pads in his shoes to support his knees and legs, and he would fall without support and regular painkillers.
“This was all a lie. We caught him bang to rights actively teaching a judo class.”
On his AboutMe page, Roberts, of Runcorn, claims to be a Sensei of Judo (Gentle Way) with more than 25 years’ worth of experience.
He has been teaching judo for 18 years at a number of different clubs.
In an interview in a local paper in 2009, he said: “It is my belief that it is important for children to do an activity outside of school to have fun and give them a chance to make new friends and also to be part of a team.
“Judo fits all of these, it is a brilliant form of exercise, it also gives you the knowledge and confidence to walk away from any situation.”
Lord Freud, the Minister for Welfare Reform, said: “It is cases like these that show us why welfare reform is needed.
“We have a duty to the taxpayer and our customers to make sure that these vital benefits only go to those who need them.
“Benefit fraud takes money away from the most vulnerable.
“It is a crime and we are committed to stopping it by catching criminals at the front line and making sure our reforms make the benefit system less open to abuse.”