Benefits cheat must pay £10,000

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A MAN from Stowmarket who falsely claimed benefits, saying he was in too much pain to dress himself properly, was seen making daily visits to a gym, a court heard.

David Rose, 49, of Combs Wood Drive, claimed £10,000 in benefits before he was caught out by a surveillance operation, Ipswich Crown Court was told on Friday.

Rose pleaded guilty to benefit fraud between January 2007 and October 2009 and Judge Peter Fenn made him the subject of an 18 month community order with a requirement to remain under Probation Service supervision for 18 months.

The court heard that Rose claimed he could not dress himself properly because he was in too much pain, but was seen visiting a gym daily – he was found to be able to use a treadmill for up to 20 minutes and could walk his dog without the use of a stick.

He had been seen by many investigators going shopping and at car boot sales.

Judge Fenn heard that benefit claims made by Rose had initially been genuine because of arthritis in his knees and chronic back pain, but he failed to notify the authorities when his condition had improved, said Stephanie Dodd, prosecuting.

When he was challenged by investigators, Rose told them that he had joined the gym on medical advice and had managed to lose eight stone in weight.

He said that he had had financial problems at the time he committed the fraud.

In mitigation, Lynne Shirley said that Rose was no longer attending the gym because his condition had deteriorated and he had to walk with a stick. He regretted what he had done and had expressed remorse.

Rose is currently repaying the money he falsely claimed at the rate of £32 a week from his benefits.