Video snares benefits cheat

VIDEO Damning video evidence used to bust a benefits cheat who jumped around with his guitar while claiming he was too ill to work can today be revealed.

Simon Tomlinson

DAMNING video evidence used to bust a benefits cheat who jumped around with his guitar while claiming he was too ill to work can today be revealed.

Rex Seeley is preparing to face the music when he is punished on Monday after he was recorded during a performance near Ipswich while he was receiving state hand-outs.

The 57-year-old, who was a professional musician in the 1970s, claimed he couldn't work after he suffered a spinal injury.

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But the video, taken by fraud officers who unravelled his web of deceit, shows Seeley, of Beatrice Avenue, Felixstowe:

bouncing around on stage at the Olive Bar at Orwell Crossing off the A14

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bending into the back of a van and carrying heavy equipment

crawling on the floor to hook up electrical cables

lifting speakers on to high brackets

A senior fraud manager from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) today told how Seeley was snared by a covert operation after they received an anonymous tip-off.

Using an unmarked van and hidden cameras, a specialist team tracked him between August and October last year to build up a file of evidence.

Jackie Raja said: “We have to carry out surveillance over a period of time because the person might have good or bad days.

“Officers followed him from his home to various locations. He was receiving the benefit for severe back problems but he was fairly mobile.”

When he appeared in court, Seeley pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to notify a change of circumstances after his condition improved.

However he claimed that he had tried to inform the DWP of the changes, but Mrs Raja said there was no evidence to support that.

“If someone reports to us any changes then we would do something about it,” she said.

“This is someone who is saying they are severely disabled but clearly that was not the case.

“He took more than £5,000 of benefits that he was not entitled to. That is money that could be going to other people.”

The DWP said Seeley has been stripped of his disability living allowance, but was continuing to receive incapacity benefit.

Seeley, who suffered his injuries after falling from a crane at the Port of Felixstowe in 1990, is due to be sentenced at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Monday.

A REPENTANT Rex Seeley today said he felt “dreadful” for not properly informing a government department about changes to his medical condition.

A court in Ipswich was told earlier this week that Seeley had dishonestly claimed more than £5,000 in disability living allowance and incapacity benefit because he had failed to tell the Department of Work and Pensions of improvements to his back condition.

The court also heard that he was only able to play because he was “stoned” on medication and the work had been sporadic and he did not receive payments.

Speaking for the first time about his conviction, the 57-year-old said: “From time to time I was better because of the medication I was taking and at other times I was worse - I did try to inform them that the situation had changed and that my medical condition kept altering.

“Perhaps I should have done more to get them to understand that and it was an oversight on my behalf.

“I am guilty and I cannot deny that I made those claims. I feel really dreadful about it all but it was unintentional.

“The court said I was not dishonest or corrupt or fraudulent and I was culpable at the lowest end of the scale.”

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