Benefit cheat golfer from Mansfield is jailed for four months
A MAN secretly filmed playing golf while claiming disability benefit has been jailed for four months.
Judge Andrew Hamilton told Robert Cave he was an utter liar and cheat as he sentenced him at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday.
He said: "I'm asked not to send you to prison. Unfortunately, I have to abide by the sentencing guidelines which are a community order, or not more than 26 weeks in custody."
Cave, 50, from Cotswold Grove, Mansfield, pocketed £12,604.65 in Disability Allowance over more than three years.
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He claimed on forms for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that walking was extremely painful after both his knee caps were removed.
He also said he needed help using the toilet day and night and found it hard to lift pans from the cooker to the sink.
The court heard his claim was legitimate when it was submitted in 1996, but he should have told the DWP if his condition improved.
Prosecutor John Hallissey, for the DWP, said: "During the period he was claiming Disability Living Allowance, the DWP wrote to him every year and asked if there were any changes to his circumstances, which might change his entitlement to benefit, and the defendant never informed the DWP of any changes."
He was charged with making a fraudulent claim from 2006 – the year he took up golf.
His mother-in-law had paid for his membership at 18-hole Norwood Park golf course, Southwell.
By the time investigators acted on a tip-off to their fraud-busting hotline, Cave had developed a handicap of 15 and played regularly in competitions.
He was seen loading a golf trolley into the boot of a car in 2009.
Investigators then filmed him secretly at Norwood Park and captured footage of him practising his swing and standing on one leg at the third tee and bending to pick up his golf ball.
Ninety per cent of the time he used a buggy to get around, but was clearly fit enough to play.
He pleaded guilty to failing to notify the DWP about a change in his circumstances – that his capabilities had improved between April 5, 2006, and January 25, 2010.
Laura Pittman, in mitigation, told the court her client had been extremely unwell and his medical notes were extensive. His condition had got better in 2006, which he should have notified the DWP about.
Miss Pittman said her client's condition had since deteriorated.