Manchester

Motocross benefit cheat Jake Preston's mum spared jail

A Bolton mother, whose son was filmed winning a motocross championship despite claiming he could not walk, has been spared jail after admitting fraud.

Julie Ann Preston, 43, claimed more than £34,000, saying her son Jake had syringomyelia, which had caused him severe pain from the age of four.

She received a suspended two-month sentence and 200 hours unpaid work.

Her son was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 250 hours unpaid work in October, after admitting fraud.

Following her sentencing at Bolton Crown Court earlier, a spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said he was "surprised" by the outcome.

Severe pain

Vernon Sanderson, North West fraud manager for the DWP, added: "We will be recovering all of that money."

Image caption Julie Preston, Jake's mother, admitted failing to notify a change in her son's circumstances

A spokesperson for Preston's employers, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: "This is an extremely regrettable situation.

"The Trust sets very high standards for its staff in terms of their conduct both inside and outside of work.

"As such, this matter will be looked into and dealt with accordingly."

Jake had been racing bikes since the age of 10 and was filmed winning a race during the British Masters Motocross Championships in Whitby, North Yorkshire.

He had claimed the higher rate of disability living allowance (DLA), for people who are virtually housebound and need "significant care" both during the day and night.

In October, his mother, from Loweswater Road, Farnworth, admitted fraudulently claiming DLA between 2001 and 2007 while he was under 16.

Jake also admitted fraud, having claimed £15,128 after he turned 16. He wrote on a benefits form that he could not walk a yard without severe pain and having to rest.

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