Cumbria

Leigh Neilly jailed for £37,000 false benefit claim

A man has been jailed for seven and a half months for falsely claiming £37,000 in incapacity benefits after he was caught regularly playing golf.

Leigh Neilly began claiming benefits when he was diagnosed with a muscle-wasting disease eight years ago.

But he was spotted by officials regularly playing at Silloth golf club, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Neilly, 41, of Wampool Street, Silloth, was found guilty of failing to report that his health had improved.

The hearing heard that Neilly claimed he could not walk further than 100 metres without feeling severe discomfort and that he always needed someone beside him in case his legs gave way.

Cycling to shops

He also said that he had difficulty gripping a toothbrush.

But the jury was shown film of him playing golf, cycling to the shops, kneeling on a pavement painting a fence and squatting down thumbing through old vinyl records at a car boot sale.

He was found guilty of failing to tell the Department for Work and Pensions that his health had improved enough to affect his claim for Disability Living Allowance.

Jailing him for 30 weeks, Judge Barbara Forrester said that what Neilly had done was "a flagrant breach of the law".

A further hearing will be heard on 28 June under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

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