Tuesday, 01 December 2015

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Cumbrian mum's £12,000 benefit fraud

A woman who was put under surveillance while falsely claiming more than £12,000 in benefit phoned police because she thought she was being stalked.

Susan Graham, 44, of Blackwell Road, Currock, was receiving Disability Living Allowance and failed to notify the Department for Work and Pensions when her health improved.

She falsely claimed £12,657 between July 2, 2008 and January 24, 2012.

At Carlisle Magistrates’ Court, prosecutor Pam Ward said: “At one time she was unable to walk without aids and she needed help getting in and out of bed, getting dressed and getting in and out of the bath.

“The DWP put her under surveillance between May and September 2011 and they followed her. Their evidence showed Mrs Graham walking briskly without aids, shopping in a large supermarket and bending down to the floor to look at items.”

The court also heard that Graham, who has a 17-year-old child, was also working 16 hours a week at a post office and had worked as a steward with Carlisle Leisure Limited while claiming benefit.

Geoff Clapp, defending Graham, said she had suffered a “congenital dislocation of her hip since birth.”

He said she was often “in pain” and had had several operations to try and put the matter right after being misdiagnosed. “While she was under surveillance she thought she was being stalked and she rang the police,” said Mr Clapp.

Mr Clapp said his client was a “woman of good character” and had “no intention to deceive anyone.”

He said the condition made his client “depressed, irritable and moody.”

He said: “My client is 44 and there isn’t a day that goes by when she doesn’t suffer pain.”

Judge Gerald Chalk said: “When circumstances change you should notify the authorities.”

He imposed a 10-week community order which includes being a curfew of being indoors between 7pm and 7am. Graham must also pay £85 costs.


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