Benefits cheat caught working as a binman

George Beacham was taking £45,000 in Disability Living Allowance

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A benefit fraudster who 'could only walk two yards in 15 minutes' has narrowly avoided jail - after being found working as a binman.

George Beacham, 68, was raking in £45,000 in Disability Living Allowance, claiming he needed help getting out of bed and had no control of his bowel movements.

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Preston Crown Court heard he also claimed he needed a walking stick outside and someone with him at all times in case he fell.

But after a tip-off the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found he had in fact been working for Lancaster City Council as a binman from 2006.

Covert footage by suspicious DWP investigators showed him walking unaided, lifting, hauling and emptying heavy binbags.

A judge heard from 2002 to 2006 greedy Beacham, of Morecambe Bay, Lancs, had also been working as a council street warden.

He admitted failing to promptly notify the DWP of a change of circumstances which would affect his benefit claim.

Judge Stephen Bedford ordered him to pay £300 costs and a £140 surcharge and gave him a 54 week suspended sentence.

The cheating binman was earning £18,000-a-year for Lancashire city council as a refuse worker - on top of his Disability Living Allowance (DLA) handouts.

Credits: NWNS

Beacham said he couldn't get5 out of bed and had no control of his bowel movements

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According to the council website, binmen are required to be "physically fit and able to undertake heavy manual work".

The married dad-of-one first started receiving up to £57.45-a-week DLA in June 1993 after suffering from ill health.

But when his condition improved in July 2002 he failed to notify the DWP, resulting in him pocketing money he was not entitled to for 13 years.

Beacham, who called himself a "cleansing technician" on LinkedIn, was caught out after a DWP surveillance team filmed him doing his rounds.

But after pleading guilty in court to the offence he later claimed he felt forced to.

He also claimed he is diabetic and suffers from hemiparesis - a condition that leaves one side of his body weak, needing metal calliper straps on his legs.

He said: "I've never got better, I've still got all the same conditions. I'm also a diabetic. I shouldn't have been prosecuted.

"I've paid £35,000 back, the other £8,000 they~re stopping £200 a month out of my pension. I've been unfairly treated by the courts."

Beacham also claimed he drove the bin wagon, adding: "They were all automatic vehicles we drove, I drove from bin to bin.

"I pulled up at the side of the bin, got down, emptied it, then got back in. I could manage that."

Credits: Daily Mirror

Daily Mirror

A Lancaster City Council spokesman said: "Lancaster city council cooperated fully with the DWP and provided evidence of Mr Beacham's employment as part of their investigation.

"The council also began its own disciplinary proceedings, but Mr Beacham resigned before they could be completed."

A DWP spokesperson said: "Only a small minority of people try to cheat the benefits system.

"But cases like this show how we are rooting out those who are stealing taxpayers' money and diverting it away from the people who really need it."

The court was told how gaining employment did not necessarily stop someone from claiming DLA benefit.

But if the work shows the claim is a lie, the person has failed to notify an improvement to the authorities.

Prosecutor Richard Bennett said Beacham was overpaid £45,441.45 and has since paid back £35,000 by cheque.

He is continuing to pay back the remaining £9,000 in instalments.

He said: "The defendant had been in receipt of DLA from June 1993 to September 2015 when it was suspended. It's a benefit that helps with extra costs one may face if one is disabled and to apply he had to complete a form.

"On the strength of that he was deemed eligible."

Video surveillance in July 2015 has shown the method and way he carried out his duties is clearly at odds with how he described his disability on his form.

In interview, Beacham admitted he "made a mistake" when claiming he could only walk two yards in 15 minutes.

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