Jailed bowling benefits cheat will have to sell her house to pay back £45,000

A jailed benefits cheat from Walsall, who claimed to be barely able to walk while regularly playing crown green bowls, will have to sell her house as she battles to pay back the money she illegally pocketed.

Screengrabs from footage of Rebecca Peach at Amery Unionist Bowling Club in Willenhall
Screengrabs from footage of Rebecca Peach at Amery Unionist Bowling Club in Willenhall

Rebecca Peach, who was sent to prison for 18 months in June, collected almost £49,000 from the five-year-long racket, a judge heard.

She has assets valued at £45,000, which include her half share of the family house which must be sold to repay the money she owes within the next three months or she will face a further nine months behind bars, the proceeds of crime hearing was told.

Rebecca Peach attending an earlier court hearing

Judge Barry Berlin ruled the 49-year-old's benefit from crime totalled £48,937 with her available assets adding up to £45,044. The figures were agreed by both prosecution and defence.

Peach, who appeared on a video link from prison, was caught out by a tip-off to Department of Work and Pensions investigators who secretly filmed her playing bowls without displaying any sign of discomfort at the Amery Unionist Bowling Club in Coppice Lane, Willenhall.

The tell-tale video - shot in September 2017 - showed the supposedly badly disabled woman jogging up and down the steps and around the perimeter of the bowling green.

Watch the video here:

She was also seen bending down to deliver her bowl, gleefully punching the air in triumph after a good shot and running across the bowling green with a tape measure.

Peach, from Lodge Street, Willenhall, illegally pocketed Disability Living Allowance, later renamed Personal Independence Living Allowance, for at least five years up to November 2017, after failing to inform the authorities of a significant improvement in her capabilities.

Rebecca Peach at Amery Unionist Bowling Club in Willenhall

The defendant maintained she was in agony when walking, was regularly forced to stop and needed crutches because her legs gave way without warning. She further claimed she never went out alone, needed help to cook and dress herself, while struggling with pain in her legs, knees and back

In fact Peach, who was of previous good character, had apparently played bowls up to four days a week for many years, representing teams in several local leagues in Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire.

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