Liverpool

'Wavey Davey' benefits cheat is jailed

A benefits cheat who claimed he could barely walk while secretly working as a children's entertainer called "Wavey Davey" has been jailed.

David Simpson, 45, claimed £35,410 in Disability Living Allowance after telling officials he was "virtually invalid" for at least nine years.

Simpson, from Widnes, Cheshire, pleaded guilty to false accounting on 31 August.

He was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison at Warrington Crown Court on Monday.

The Department for Work and Pensions received an anonymous tip-off which sparked a 19-month investigation by fraud inspectors.

'Blatant scam'

Covert surveillance caught him performing as "Wavey Davey" at children's parties across North West England and also as a gymnastics instructor.

Judge Thomas Teague QC said he could only pass an immediate prison sentence for such a "blatant" scam.

"On 8 March 1991, you submitted a claim form in which you alleged that you were only able to walk a short distance and could only climb stairs with pain," he said.

"The fact was that you had in fact sustained an injury, a significant injury, in a road traffic accident some 18 months or two years earlier.

"And, until then, you had been a young man with an extremely promising career as an athlete.

"In 1992, the rate at which you could claim increased and you continued to receive payments until you came under investigation in 2008, a total period of some 17 years."

The judge said it was clear the first claim before 1991 was "genuine and legitimate" but his condition had improved considerably.

"You had in fact been working as a children's entertainer, something that clearly involved mobility far in excess of what you had put in your claim form, and you were working as a pre-school gym instructor."

He said Simpson was not paid on a weekly or monthly basis but about every three years.

"When you purchased a car, you received from the taxpayer a significant contribution to the cost of your vehicle by reason of the serious restrictions on your mobility," he said.

"This was just too blatant to suspend the inevitable term of custody."

Simpson, who also holds a silver medal in gymnastics from the "Alternative" Commonwealth Games in 1986, must pay back £100 per month.

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