A WIGAN pensioner scammed nearly £17,000 in disability benefits – while starring for his bowling team in local leagues.
George Dainty, 74, pocketed £16,860.90 in disability allowance after he kept quiet about his medical condition improving.
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ heard that Dainty raked in the extra cash between May 2007 and October last year.
Prosecutor Katie Beattie said that for the whole of that time the defendant was competing in a league at a local bowling club.
She said this demonstrated that Dainty’s ability to cope with his disability had improved as he wouldn’t have been able to do such an activity when he first applied for the allowance.
The court heard that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) investigated and had completed surveillance on the defendant.
Ms Beattie said this showed Dainty walking freely and at greater speeds than he initially claimed.
The footage showed no pain or discomfort being experienced by the claimant.
She went on to say that he had been given different medication throughout the years which helped his condition to improve.
Defending Colin Rawson said his client was extremely disappointed in himself.
He added: “He is deeply embarrassed and deeply remorseful and he hangs his head in shame.”
Rawson went on to say that Dainty had apologised for his actions and for the inconvenience caused and is paying all of the money back.
Dainty had been claiming the disability allowance since 2002 when he was forced to retire early due to ill health at 61 years old.
Mr Rawson said he had been advised by doctors to seek the benefits.
After regular appointments with doctors his medication changed and they advised the defendant to exercise in order to get better.
It was then he joined the bowling club and played for them weekly.
Mr Rawson said the DWP surveillance didn’t see the next day when Dainty would be in pain and unable to walk properly and would have to take medication to relieve this.
He added: “The ultimate punishment has been for him to be in court.”
Dainty was sentenced to a 12 week community order and was given a curfew from 7pm until 7am.
Magistrates said this will be reduced to 11pm until 7am for two weeks in September when his wife will be undergoing an operation to remove a tumour from her lung.
Dainty was also ordered to pay £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge.