Liverpool

Stephen Worton jailed for £58,000 benefits fraud

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Media captionBenefits cheat with £98,000 of savings jailed

A benefits cheat filmed riding an elephant in India, walking unaided and getting into a van while claiming he was too ill to work has been jailed.

Stephen Worton, 55, of Hill Street, Toxteth, Liverpool, admitted claiming £58,000 in benefits from 2000 to 2010.

He had more than £98,000 of savings and two businesses, a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) investigation found.

He was jailed for 18 months for 16 counts of benefit fraud at Liverpool Crown Court.

The DWP said he claimed income support, incapacity, housing and council tax benefits while earning between £50,000 and £65,000 a year.

Numerous holidays

Worton told the DWP that he could only walk 25 yards (23 metres) in seven minutes with a walking stick, was unable to open taps or use a knife to cut food.

But investigators filmed Worton wearing a high-visibility fluorescent jacket and walking around before getting into a work van.

They also found he owned the property in Halsnead Road, Prescot, Merseyside, which he was claiming benefits for, while living with his partner in Hill Street.

The DWP discovered he had gone on numerous holidays with his wife including Turkey, Sharm el Sheik in Egypt, and Goa in India, where he was filmed riding the elephant in February 2007.

Worton also owned a holiday home in Marton Mere in Lancashire and a motor cruiser which he moored at Sourpool Wyke in Lake Windermere, the DWP said.

A 17th count of benefit fraud of failure to notify of changes in circumstances, which Worton denied, was ordered to lie on file.

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