Benefits cheat using two walking sticks caught out on footage
Kevin Eden said he struggled to walk – but mowed lawns and took part in competitions at a rifle club.
A benefits cheat has avoided jail after admitting illegally pocketing more than £12,000.
Kevin Eden, aged 51, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the Department for Work and Pensions and failing to tell officers his circumstances had improved.
Eden, a former member of Rugeley Rifle Club, claimed more than £12,805 in Personal Independence Payments over a 10 year period - but was found out after an investigation.
He claimed he struggled to walk and needed two walking sticks – but the investigation found he mowed the lawn at the rifle club and also took part in competitions.
WATCH: CCTV shows cheat walking down stairs using one stick
Officials at the rifle club confirmed he had been a member since January 20 2016 and appeared in team photographs. However, he is no longer a member.
And in another incident, Eden, who is unemployed and on benefits, arrived at Cannock Jobcentre for an interview on walking sticks; but upon exit, CCTV showed him walking down stairs using one aid.
Part of his claim for PIP was that he suffered discomfort climbing and descending stairs and encountered “considerable pain” while walking more than 10 metres.
At his sentencing at Cannock Magistrates' Court, Eden, of Leyfields Road, Lichfield, said he felt ashamed for swindling the money.
Probation officer Julie Grice, speaking on behalf of Eden, told the court: “He knows what he has done is wrong and shouldn’t have done this.
"It was just greed that took over. He was dependant on the money and said he would struggle if he didn’t get the benefits.”
The money was claimed by Eden between August 29, 2007, and October 23, 2017 – the latter date was his last payment.
He has not had a job since 2004 and is currently claiming benefits for unemployment.
Eden was sentenced to four weeks in prison which was suspended for 12 months.
He was also ordered to pay £235 in court costs.
Judge Phillip Leason said: “I would say this is a deliberate offence over a period of time.”
Defending, Simon Dean, added: “He is willing to accept what he has done and will try to make amends.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “We have zero tolerance of anyone fraudulently claiming benefits.”
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