Wolverhampton fraudster jailed for false £20k claim

A fraudster who claimed almost £20,000 in benefits by saying he could barely walk has been jailed for eight weeks after being filmed playing golf and moving bins.

Here Sheard is seen lifting a wheelbarrow into a car boot
Here Sheard is seen lifting a wheelbarrow into a car boot

Alan Sheard said his back pain was so acute he claimed the highest level of disability benefit, netting him almost £20,000 over a 37-month period.

But his claim proved to be a false one when he was secretly filmed walking his dog, moving wheelie bins and lifting metal mesh fencing and a wheelbarrow into his car.

Wolverhampton Magistrates Court heard Sheard, aged 59, of Wildtree Avenue, was overpaid £19,985.10 in Disability Living Allowance between May 2009 and June 2012.

Ms Sati Ruck, prosecuting said Sheard started legitimately claiming disability benefits in 2001, but one of his daughters filled out a form in 2007 entitling him to a higher level of payment.

“Sheard had said he was virtually unable to walk, but he was filmed walking his dog over long distances at a brisk pace for periods of between 40 and 45 minutes. He was also witnessed lifting a 6ft by 7ft sheet of metal mesh fencing and a wheelbarrow into his car, and from January 2008 onwards he regularly entered golf competitions.”

Ms Sati added Sheard had previous convictions involving dishonesty dating back to 1988 and 1993.

Mr Richard Burch, defending, said Sheard was still in poor health but admitted he made an error of judgment in failing to tell the authorities his condition had improved.

Sheard, who appeared in court on crutches, had previously pleaded guilty to failing to notify the Government’s Department for Work and Pensions of a change of circumstances affecting his entitlement.