Mother of bike benefit cheat in guilty plea

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The mother of a benefit cheat who claimed he could not walk but was secretly filmed racing his motorbike to victory in a British motocross championship has also admitted benefit fraud.

Julie Ann Preston, 43, pocketed more than £34,000 in taxpayers’ cash after she claimed her son Jake Preston was crippled with a rare condition called syringomyelia, causing him severe pain in his neck and spine from the age of four, Bolton Crown Court heard.

Benefit fraud investigators followed him at weekends as he took part in motocross races across the UK.

He had been racing bikes since the age of 10, competing in Holland at one point, and was filmed winning one race and coming third in another during the British Masters Motocross Championships in Whitby.

Preston had claimed the higher rate of disability living allowance (DLA), for both his mobility and care needs, getting around £100 per week to pay for his care.

The higher rate of DLA was for people who are virtually housebound and need “significant care” both during the day and night.

He was convicted of a £15,128 benefit fraud last week because after he turned 16 in 2007, he made a claim for DLA in his own right, filling in the form claiming he could not walk a yard without severe pain and stopping to rest.

Preston was sentenced to a 12-month community order with the requirement to do 250 hours of unpaid work.

Yesterday his mother admitted the same fraud on DLA worth £34,615 between October 2001 and July 2007, relating to her claim for him while he was a youngster.

Preston, from Loweswater Road, Farnworth, Bolton, Lancashire, admitted failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions of a change in her son’s circumstances, namely the improvement in his physical abilities.

The court heard it was not yet clear when her son’s condition improved to the point where he no longer should have been claiming the benefits.

Judge William Morris adjourned sentencing until November 18 for the preparation of reports and warned Preston jail could not be ruled out.