Driver claimed thousands in benefits

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A MAN continued to claim disability living allowance after getting work as a delivery driver, a court heard.

Norman Belk failed to disclose his circumstances had changed and as a result was overpaid more than £40,000 in that allowance and pension credits over a three year period, Stephen Brown prosecuting told Leeds Crown Court.

He was receiving the disability allowance from 1998 on the basis he had a back condition which meant it could take him three minutes to walk 20 yards.

From 2003 he also began to receive pension credit but in 2006 he got a job as a delivery driver for Yorkshire Post Newspapers Ltd which included loading and unloading bundles of newspapers.

Mr Brown said the evidence was he could load up to 140 bundles in a shift but did not declare he was working or that his condition had improved.

As a result he was overpaid a total of £42,158 in the two benefits. When he was questioned in 2009 about his actions he claimed although the contract was in his name the work was being done by his son and son-in-law and he only went along occasionally for the ride with them.

But Mr Brown told the court evidence from the employer was that in the earlier days it was only Belk doing the loading and delivering and latterly his son-in-law occasionally accompanied him.

Belk, 68 of Littlemoor Crescent, Pudsey, Leeds, admitted two offences of benefit fraud and was given a 10 months prison sentence suspended for 12 months with a three months residence order at his home address. The money is being repaid at £10 a week.

Judge Scott Wolstenholme told Belk: “Happily your health improved and you were able to work but you should have disclosed that to the authorities.”

It was a serious benefit fraud to obtain £42,000 of tax payers money to which he was not entitled and there could well be further financial consequences under future confiscation proceedings.