'Disabled' bodybuilder Peter Beddoe jailed for fraud
A former Mr Wales who falsely claimed £28,332 in disability benefits whilst competing in bodybuilding contests has been jailed for six months.
Peter Beddoe, 49, of Aberdare, claimed he was too weak to walk, but went to the gym almost daily and competed all over the country.
Merthyr Crown Court heard his eight-year claim was genuine at first, but his pain management had since improved.
Beddoe admitted fraud but said "everyone exaggerates their claims".
The 2009 South Coast Bodybuilding Champion was receiving a higher rate of disability allowance meant for people who cannot walk, after claiming he needed a walking stick or crutches to get around.
But he was regularly seen on stage tanned and oiled up for competitions.
A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) investigation found that between 2008 and 2013 he visited the gym more than 1,100 times and used weights in his training sessions.
The court heard Beddoe took up the sport to build up the muscles around his spine after an accident at the age of 30.
The former hairdresser legitimately claimed disability benefit at the time but failed to notify the DWP his condition had improved.
Beddoe pleaded guilty to two charges of making dishonest representations to claim benefits and one of fraud between 2006 and 2013.
Judge Recorder Richard Booth said Beddoe's offences were "disgraceful" and so serious that a prison sentence was necessary.
Speaking after the hearing, Carolyn Davies team fraud leader with the DWP said: "Deliberately not informing us of a change in your condition that may affect your claim is a crime.
"Don't wait for our fraud investigators to find you. Tell us of a change now."