A benefits cheat who swindled over £20,000 of taxpayers cash claiming he could barely walk was caught out when investigators found out he was a BOXING INSTRUCTOR.
Scrounger Mark Ashman, 51, pocketed thousands of pounds in disability allowance on the basis it would take him ten minutes just to walk 100 yards and required round the clock care.
But he was exposed when fraud investigators filmed the greedy conman sparring with a partner in an outdoor boxing ring.
Amazingly, the sparring session was part of an Olympic torch display.
He was captured by DWP investigators outside Wolverhampton’s Boxing Club gym taking part in a demonstration on a torch bearers route.
It was then uploaded to Youtube by the DWP.
The respected coach even trained fighters from the Caribbean island of Dominica to prepare them for last year’s games.
The damning footage shows Ashman- who claimed he had crippling arthritis – jumping around the ring with boxing pads as a bulky fighter delivers powerful blows.
Wolverhampton Magistrates Court heard not only was he teaching children and adults the sport – but was also well enough to run his own security business.
In total Ashman was overpaid £21,742.48 in incapacity and disability allowances over a three year period.
He pleaded guilty to one count of to failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting his entitlement to benefits between March 1 2009 to August 12 last year.
Chair of the magistrates Beryl Farrow told Ashman he could now face jail.
She said: “Mr Ashman, what you have done is disgusting.
“Taking money from society, lots of people can’t even save that money in a lifetime.
“It has passed the custody threshold.
“However, we are thinking, only thinking, of suspending it.
“However we need reports so I will adjourn the case for a later date and we have decided exactly what to do with you.”
Prosecuting Suki Rai, told the court: “Mr Ashman was capable of undertaking activity that appeared to be incompatible with his benefits.
“He was capable of coaching boxing and the club confirmed he was self employed with his day and night security business.
“With regards to his disability allowance his last self assessment was in 1999.
“He said that due to arthritis in his right knee he was very disabled and needed care and often found it very difficult to walk without a walking stick.
“He said his walking ability was restricted to 100 yards which would take him ten minutes to walk this distance.
“An allegation was received that Mr Ashman was capable to walk and that he had a security firm.”
Ashman, from Wolverhampton, West Mids., received #9,182.05p in disability benefits between March 1 2009 and August 12, 2012.
He also claimed #12,560.43p in incapacity benefit between October 1 2009 and January 2 2012.
Defending, Debbie Starrs, said: “It is very sad Mr Ashman is before the court today.
“He knows he is in the wrong and is extremely sorry and knows he should have said something earlier.”
The case was adjourned for sentencing on September 5.
A DWP spokesperson said after the hearing: “It’s 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.”
this hasn’t really surprised me