Norfolk

Northampton brawling benefits cheat is jailed

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Media captionTimothy Harris was spotted on CCTV on a violent rampage in Northampton

A benefits cheat who was caught on CCTV brawling with police, despite claiming he could not leave home without a walking stick, has been jailed.

Timothy Harris, 46, from Sage Close, Northampton, was spotted on camera in the early hours of 1 January 2008, on a violent rampage in the town.

That incident, for which he received a suspended sentence, led to a Department of Work and Pensions investigation.

He was jailed for 15 months for the fraudulent claims and other offences.

The investigation found between January 2006 and November 2010, Harris fraudulently claimed income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit, Northampton Crown Court heard.

He told benefits officials he could not leave home without a stick after a wall fell on him.

Image caption Timothy Harris told benefits officials a wall had fallen on him

The court was told he failed to declare a change in his circumstances and was found to have received £54,729 cash which he did not declare.

He also claimed disability living allowance, saying he could hardly walk.

But during the January 2008 incident, he was seen on CCTV knocking a passer-by over and punching other bystanders in the face before being restrained by five police officers.

During the rampage, Harris, clad in a white t-shirt and jeans, is also seen jogging and running.

The total loss of the benefits claims to the public purse was £21,438.66, the court was told.

Harris pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to notify a change of circumstances previously.

He was also sentenced on Tuesday for breach of the suspended sentence handed to him for the New Year's Day affray, and a charge of possession of cocaine on another occasion.

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