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1 Sep 2014

"Disabled" benefit thief jet skied on holiday

A benefits cheat who claimed thousands of pounds after claiming he could hardly walk was caught out - when he was spotted hiking, cycling and jet skiing. (h/t Dave)

Mark Haugh, 57, told officials he could only walk a few steps without discomfort and would be left bed-bound for up to five days a week due to mobility issues. But when he was spotted strolling through Bristol Airport, investigators became suspicious. Eventually, they discovered an action-filled holiday photo album, with pictures of him on the back of a jet ski and balancing on a perilous rope bridge at Giant's Causeway in Ireland.

Handing him a community order, Judge Mark Horton said:
One of the huge difficulties about people who abuse the benefit system is it attracts huge public attention, huge public disapproval and enormous bitterness. People who pay their taxes, when they discover that someone who has a disability is known to go on foreign holidays, on jet skis and cycling, they come to the conclusion that their position in society is being abused by people like you. That is the reason you are here. It is not acceptable in society. It was also appalling not to disclose it.
Bristol Crown Court heard Haugh claimed £7,032 Disability Living Allowance between January 2012 and April last year.

Haugh, of Speedwell, Bristol, told investigators he was waiting on advice before notifying the DWP of his change of circumstances. He pleaded guilty to receiving the over-payment by failing to notify a change in circumstances.

Haugh was given a community order with six months' supervision to help him with employment and training, problem solving and debt advice.

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