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15 May 2013

Gran, 54, jailed for £74k benefit theft

Benefit cheat gran Kay Wilson pocketed £74,769 in incapacity handouts over eight years – despite having a full-time job paying almost £20,000-a-year.

The 54-year-old was still being paid disability living allowance and severe disablement allowance when she was working between 2003 and 2011.

Her employers included Leek Golf Club, car dealer Knights North West Limited, Longton-based Rock House Training and Wrights Pies.

It meant Wilson was earning between £15,000 and £20,000-a-year at work – and then receiving more than £9,000-a-year tax-free in state handouts.

Now Wilson has been jailed for 32 weeks at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court after admitting two charges of failing to notify a change of circumstances in relation to her benefit claims between April, 2003 and December, 2011.

Jailing Wilson, Judge Paul Glenn said:
Benefit fraud costs this country millions of pounds a year – money that comes from the pockets of ordinary, honest taxpayers.

People like you, benefit cheats, take away precious public resources which would otherwise be spent on worthy causes.

You knew what you were doing was wrong. You did not voluntarily desist from the false claims, you were caught. You got used to that additional income which was easy money.
The court heard Wilson, from Wetley Rocks, started claiming benefits in 1993 on the basis it would take her 20 minutes to walk 10 yards with a walking stick and she was prone to falling.

And on a renewal form in 1998 she stated she had suffered three strokes in the past five years and had difficulties getting out of bed and dressing herself.

But Wilson carried on claiming the benefits when she started working at Leek Golf Club, where she lived with her husband, in November 2002.

She then moved on to other jobs before landing a job at Wrights Pies in November 2008.

In 2011, Wilson was photographed by The Sentinel with other work colleagues stripping off for a charity calendar raising money for cancer charities.

The court heard £11,108.86 of the £74,769 was written off when Wilson was declared bankrupt last year.

Jason Holt, mitigating, said Wilson suffered a severe stroke at the age of 34 and was wheelchair-bound for two years. She had further strokes and suffered depression.

Mr Holt said: "At times she was well enough to work."

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