Caught out! Benefits cheat, 45, who claimed he could barely walk to pocket £16,000 in disability handouts is exposed after being secretly filmed playing CRICKET
- Kenneth Hodgson told benefits office he needed crutches due to nerve damage
- But investigators found he had been turning out for cricket team for four years
- He was ordered to do unpaid work for falsely claiming £16,000 in handouts
Published: 08:33 EDT, 25 April 2019 | Updated: 16:47 EDT, 25 April 2019
A benefits cheat who scammed his way to £16,000 in disability handouts was eventually rumbled after he was filmed playing in a village cricket match.
Kenneth Hodgson, 45, claimed he needed crutches to walk and struggled to go outdoors due to nerve damage in his legs.
But he was in fine form when investigators looking into his claims saw him bowling and fielding for his local team in Highley in Shropshire in 2017.
They then uncovered the village’s cricket scorecards, which showed Hodgson had been turning out for the team for four years.
Ken Hodgson was prosecuted after he was spotted bowling for his village cricket team
Scorecards showed he’d been turning out for the team for four years while claiming handouts
He had been claiming Disability Living Allowance from 2008, the Department of Work and Pensions said.
In a self-assessment renewal form he signed on August 10, 2010, he stated: ‘I have to walk everywhere with my elbow crutches.
‘On good days crutches are sufficient but on bad days I need more support hence I do not go outdoors, so stay in.’
He also claimed he had four crumbling spinal discs and nerve damage to his legs which meant he was unable to walk more than four metres without ‘severe discomfort’.
Hodgson was not jailed, instead being ordered to carry out unpaid work
He told the Examining Medical Practitioner in January 2011 that he only went out ‘once a week to watch his son play rugby’.
But investigators became suspicious of his claims and looked into his activities.
He eventually admitted that, since starting to play cricket, he had batted and bowled when required as well as fielding.
A court heard he was overpaid a total of £16,449 in benefits which he had not been entitled to between May 3, 2014 and April 24, 2018.
Hodgson admitted failing to notify change of circumstances affecting entitlement to social security benefit at Telford Magistrates Court yesterday.
He was handed a 12-month community order, told to do 60 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £405 in court costs and a victim surcharge.
A DWP spokesman said: ‘Only a small minority of benefit claimants are dishonest, but cases like this show how we are catching those who cheat the system and divert taxpayers’ money from the people who need it.
‘We are determined to catch those we suspect of fraudulently claiming benefits by following up on tip-offs, undertaking surveillance and working with local councils.’