Stoke & Staffordshire

Benefits fraudster Linda Hoey avoided £15K in M6 toll charges

Linda Hoey Image copyright DWP
Image caption Photographs of Linda Hoey snorkelling were seized by investigators

A woman who used her disability car to avoid £15,000 of M6 Toll charges has been convicted of benefit fraud.

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) investigation found that despite claiming £65,000 in disability payments, Linda Hoey had been in paid employment since 1997.

Although she claimed she could barely walk, investigators found photographs of her scuba diving and snorkelling.

Hoey was convicted by jurors at Stafford Crown Court on Friday.

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The DWP said Hoey, 58, of Talland Avenue, Amington, Tamworth, had been claiming care and mobility needs for degenerative arthritis and a back problem since 1995.

Image copyright DWP
Image caption Hoey had been claiming care and mobility needs for degenerative arthritis and a back problem
Image copyright DWP
Image caption Another picture showed her on holiday on a quad bike

However, an investigation revealed she had been in paid employment since 1997.

As well as falsely claiming £65,000 in disability benefits, she also used her Motability vehicle to get toll road exemptions amounting to about £15,000, the DWP said.

In a statement Midland Expressway Ltd, which operates the M6 Toll, said: "This is very much a matter for the DWP although Midland Expressway Limited is very pleased that a conviction has been secured in this clear case of benefit fraud.

"Midland Expressway Limited finds it completely unacceptable for anyone to take part in any fraudulent activity, whether involving the M6 Toll or not, and we will continue to fully support the DWP in such matters."

Hoey was found guilty of cheating the public revenue and securing the remission of a liability by deception

She will be sentenced in September.

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