Liverpool

Maghull disability benefit cheat golfer Peter Crowder jailed

A disability benefits cheat from Merseyside who was secretly filmed playing golf has been jailed for six months.

Peter Crowder, 51, from Parkbourn Square, Maghull, fraudulently claimed more than £20,000 in benefits, Liverpool Magistrates' Court heard.

The former psychiatric nurse had claimed rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis prevented him from working.

Investigators filmed him at Hurlston Hall Golf and Country Club, Lancashire.

Crowder who pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to failing to declare a change of circumstances and making a false statement to obtain benefits, arrived for sentencing using a walking stick.

The court heard that an anonymous tip-off alerted Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) officers to his visits to the club where he had been a member since 2006.

Crowder, a former psychiatric nurse at Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside, attended the club 151 times between April 2009 and May 2010, the court was told.

Re-mortgaged house

He admitted the charges relating to a four-year period up to September 2010.

Image caption Peter Crowder was an active golf club member throughout the period he made fraudulent claims

When he made his claim for Disability Living Allowance, Crowder said he was using a walking stick at all times and was in "constant" pain after retiring early because of his medical condition.

But DWP film showed him unpacking a golf trolley and pushing it around the 18-hole golf course while taking a range of shots.

Rebecca Templeman, defending, said Crowder had remortgaged his house to repay the money in full and that the father-of-two recognised his "wrongdoing" and was remorseful.

District Judge Miriam Shelvey told him: "It's clear to me that you knew what you were doing and you knew that it was wrong."

* At Liverpool Crown Court 49-year-old lorry driver Dennis Douglas, was sentenced to 56 days, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 180 hours of community work after falsely claiming more than £20,000 in DLA benefits.

Douglas, of Hunts Cross, Merseyside, admitted knowingly failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions of a change in circumstances.

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