He claimed he could only walk a few metres in order to claim disability benefits and was confined to his home – but Alan Sheard was caught on film walking his dog, lifting a wheelbarrow into a car and moving wheelie bins to swindle almost £20,000.
The 59-year-old from Wolverhampton pleaded guilty yesterday to failing to notify the Government’s Department for Work and Pensions of a change of circumstances affecting his entitlement to benefits.
Sheard, of Wildtree Avenue, was overpaid £19,985.10 in Disability Living Allowance between May 2009 and June 2012, Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court heard.
Mr Chris Coughlan, prosecuting, said a surveillance investigation had been launched following three anonymous tip-offs that Sheard was doing ‘occasional work’ and playing golf three times a week.
Mr Coughlan added: “He was filmed walking his dog over long distances, lifting a wheelbarrow, lifting a 6ft by 7ft metal mesh fence panel and manoeuvring wheelie bins.
“Mr Sheard allegedly could not walk in excess of 10 metres and did not go outside,” he added.
Mr Richard Burch, defending, said Sheard remained in poor health but admitted he should have told authorities his condition had improved.
Mr Burch said: “He was still disabled and probably would have been entitled to some form of disability allowance, although not at the rate at which he was being paid.
“The defendant still suffers from severe ill health. He suffers from chronic pancreatitis, which means he has difficulty eating. He has to take a lot of medications. He is diabetic. He also has a bad back.
“He is a person who does have considerable medical problems. It is not suggested that there is a matter of dishonesty.”
Mr Burch added: “The form was completed in 2007 by one of the defendant’s daughters. She put basically that the defendant couldn’t really walk without sticks.
“Occasionally he went to a golf course and he has been seen with a wheelbarrow and walking short distances.
“He did take a dog to a little wooded area near to his house,” he added.
“He should have informed the authorities that his walking wasn’t quite as immobile as it was on the form.”
Mr Burch said Sheard, who appeared on crutches at court, had not received Disability Living Allowance since the matter came to light in 2012.
The case has been adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be written.
Sheard is due to be sentenced at Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court on Monday.Subscribe to our Newsletter