Ipswich man who falsely claimed disability benefit ‘pushed car and hopped on spot’, court told
- Credit: Gregg Brown
An Ipswich man was seen pushing his car, hopping on one leg, exercising dogs and moving bins while receiving benefits for severe walking difficulties.
Kevin Field showed “no signs of remorse” when sentenced by magistrates in Ipswich for dishonestly failing to declare his mobility had improved.
The 57-year-old falsely claimed £12,903.60 in Disability Living Allowance (DLA) between January 30, 2013 and April 5, 2016.
South East Suffolk Magistrates Court heard how Field was in receipt of the higher level mobility component at a weekly rate of £58.
A diabetic with osteoarthritis, he also claimed the £22 lower care component, for those in need of some help with daily tasks.
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Prosecutor Lucy Miller said Field was awarded DLA at the end of 2008, but that a tip-off suggested his mobility had improved in January 2013.
He agreed it had, following hip surgery, but added that there was “no way” he could cross a football pitch without severe discomfort.
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Surveillance of his Boyton Road home took place the next month.
On February 10, he left to walk two dogs unaided, moved wheelie bins and pushed his car almost a foot after releasing the handbrake.
A week later, he was followed on an 18-minute dog walk, showing no sign of pain or discomfort.
The next day, on the same route, he was seen removing a shoe and hopping to maintain balance.
On three occasions, he walked more than 1000m with the dogs and picked up their excrement.
When shown footage and asked if it showed someone unable to walk, he said: “But I was in pain.”
Field denied the charge, but was convicted at trial on January 8.
At his sentencing, he told magistrates: “I didn’t know I needed to inform the DWP.
“I had so much to sort out when my wife died (in December 2014).
“She did all the paperwork. I had everything to do – council tax, rent, insurance on the household.
“I took painkillers every time I walked the dogs because I was still in so much pain.”
Magistrates said Field’s mobility improved before his wife’s death – that he knew his circumstances had changed, but still failed to acknowledge guilt.
“We haven’t seen any signs of remorse at all,” they concluded.
Field received a 24-week jail term, suspended for 18 months, with home curfew from 4pm-9am for three months. He must also pay £440 towards court costs.
Field is expected to appeal the decision.