East Bowling man claiming disability allowance caught jiving at dance classes (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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East Bowling man claiming disability allowance caught jiving at dance classes
A benefit cheat who claimed it took him up to four minutes to walk ten yards with the aid of two walking sticks was caught jiving at dancing classes, a court heard.
Leonard Priestley, 58, was also filmed carrying large items and jumping over a wall by a Department of Work and Pensions surveillance team.
He pleaded guilty to dishonestly pocketing £14,025 of disability living allowance over four years.
Prosecutor Robert Stephenson said Priestley’s original claim for the benefit was genuine but his condition greatly improved.
As well as having very limited mobility, he had also said he needed help washing, dressing and cooking meals when he first made the claim.
But benefit investigators discovered that he had attended dance classes once a week for four years.
Mr Stephenson said the classes lasted an hour and a half.
Judge David Hatton QC asked: “What sort of dance classes?”
“Jive, and kicks and turns and the like,” Mr Stephenson replied.
He said the benefit fraud team had put Priestley under surveillance between March and September 2011.
He was filmed walking round carrying large objects and jumping over a wall.
Priestley told investigators his condition had improved. He could walk for a bit longer and “did a bit of dancing now and then”.
The court heard the fraudulent claim spanned a period from November 2007 to November 2011.
In mitigation, Priestley’s barrister, Stephen Wood, said he was of previous good character and the claim was not false from the outset.
He was entitled to the benefit but his condition had improved. He had continuing medical problems and was not fit to do community work, the court heard.
Judge Hatton told Priestley: “You are 58 years of age, with no previous convictions, and you have pleaded guilty to these offences of obtaining a very significant amount of money to which you were not entitled.”
He and his family would suffer very considerable punishment by having to pay back the money, the court heard.
Priestley was sentenced to a 12-month community order with supervision.