Footballer's father to repay benefit fraud money

The father of a semi-professional footballer who falsely claimed disability living allowance for his son has been ordered to repay the money.

Anthony Monaghan, 49, wrongly claimed £16,917 over a four-year period for his son Grant Monaghan, who was playing for Woodbridge Town Football Club.

The level of disability he claimed for meant his son would struggle to walk.

At Ipswich Crown Court, Monaghan was given a 12-month supervision order and told he will have to repay the money.

The Department for Work and Pensions took action after they filmed Grant Monaghan playing football for Woodbridge, who play in the Ridgeons Premier Division.

'Greatly exaggerated'

Anthony Monaghan pleaded guilty to failing to notify the government about a change in circumstances affecting entitlement to benefit.

Richard Wood, mitigating, said Grant Monaghan suffered from serious epilepsy and asthma.

He said: "When he was not having a fit, it did not affect his ability to play football."

Judge John Devaux said: "It is quite clear the affect of his condition on his mobility has been consistently and greatly exaggerated.

"The conclusion is unavoidable that you and your son were complicit in this.

"But given all the circumstances and guidelines, a prison sentence would not be suitable."

John Beecroft, chairman of Woodbridge Town, told investigators that Grant Monaghan had played for the club since he was 15 years old.

He said the player was paid £2,500 in match fees over two seasons from 2007.

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