VIDEO: Disabled Mansfield benefits claimant was filmed playing golf
A BENEFITS cheat who claimed he was unable to walk more than 50 metres without stopping was caught playing golf.
Robert Cave pocketed £12,500 in Disability Allowance for more than three years.
The 50-year-old, of Cotswold Grove, Mansfield, was paid the benefit in 2006 – on the basis walking was extremely painful and he had difficulty even lifting pans from the cooker to the sink.
Nottingham Crown Court heard when he made the claim he said walking ten yards could take him two minutes.
But footage obtained by the Department for Work and Pensions investigators showed Cave at a Notts golf course teeing up balls and hitting them.
He could even lean over and balance on one leg as he picked up a golf tee.
Ninety per cent of the time he used a buggy to get around but was fit enough to play.
Investigators filmed him elsewhere – unloading items from boxes outside his home and getting out of his car and walking to a bakery.
Prosecutor John Hallissey, for the DWP, said Cave played golf two to three times a week on a 18-hole course, had a handicap of 15 and played regularly in competitions.
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, mitigating, told the court that her client did have a disability in 1996 when he completed his application, and this had since improved.
The court heard there was medical evidence that his knee caps have crumbled and he appeared in court using crutches.
Judge Andrew Hamilton granted Cave bail yesterday to return to court to be sentenced on March 7, warning him to prepare for prison.
"He was perfectly fit to play," the judge said. "He could lean over and balance on one leg as he picked up a golf tee."
Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud said afterwards: "It's cases like these that show us why welfare reform is needed.
"We have a duty to the taxpayer and our customers to make sure that these vital benefits only go to those who need them.
"Benefit fraud takes money away from the most vulnerable. It is a crime and we are committed to stopping it by catching criminals at the front line and making sure our reforms make the benefit system less open to abuse."