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1 Oct 2018

Conditional discharge for benefit fraud

A benefit cheat who claimed that she had serious mobility problems because of arthritis was secretly filmed walking two dogs and going shopping without difficulties.

She fiddled more than £8,300 in wrongful disability living allowance payments after her condition "dramatically" improved, a court heard.

Georgina Parkinson, 68, from Flixborough, denied failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting her entitlement to disability living allowance between March 4, 2015 and April 26, 2016. She was convicted by a jury at Grimsby Crown Court after a trial.

Simon Clegg, prosecuting, said that Parkinson claimed disability living allowance from the 1990s because of health problems. She completed forms in 2005 and 2013 about her condition but, during 2015 and 2016, her problems "dramatically" improved so much that she should have told the benefits authorities.

Parkinson later told investigators: "I have good days. I have bad days."

A fraud investigator secretly filmed Parkinson 10 times walking without any problems. She was seen walking two dogs at a "steady pace" from her home to a distance half a mile away before returning. On another occasion, she was seen parking but not in a disabled space, walking to go inside a Home Bargains store and pushing a trolley.

Parkinson had previously declared in forms that she needed a "Zimmer frame or walking sticks" and that she had falls and that her "legs give way without warning". She claimed that she could walk only short distances and suffered from arthritis in both knees, her spine, her neck and her thumbs.

In 2015, she declared that she had physical problems restricting her walking "all the time" and that she was "very slow" because she got very breathless with pain in her back and legs. She claimed: "I never go out without someone with me as I have had a lot of falls."

The court heard that she was not fit enough to do unpaid work, did not need supervision and could not afford a fine. A prison sentence was ruled out because it did not come under the sentencing guidelines for the amount of money involved.

She was, therefore, given a two-year conditional discharge.

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