Brecon jogger 'banged knee' to make phoney claim

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Insurance fraudster caught out by CCTV

A jogger was caught on camera smashing his leg on a broken paving slab to make a phoney insurance claim.

Malcolm Harrison, 41, came up with the scam after losing his footing on a pothole while running, a court heard.

He thought cameras at a Brecon block of flats were fakes and claimed £6,000 from Wales and West Housing Association for knee and ankle ligament damage.

Harrison admitted the fraud at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court and was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard how the defendant had the idea after stumbling at the Cwrt Tarrell complex in June 2017.

"Mr Harrison was jogging when a piece of paving slab gave way under his foot," said prosecutor Paul Hobson.

"He didn't trip or fall and barely broke stride but it prompted an idea.

"He returned and deliberately banged his knee on the broken slab five times."

Image source, Tom Bedford/Athena Pictures
Image caption,
Malcolm Harrison had the idea after stumbling on his daily run around Brecon

He described camera footage showing Harrison with a neighbour hitting his leg, laughing and then "hopping on one leg and limping".

Mr Hobson added: "He didn't know that what had happened was caught on CCTV - he was aware of the security cameras but thought they were dummies.

"Even when two representatives from the housing association showed him the footage he stuck to his story that he had been injured."

The defendant had claimed his leg gave way a week later and he went to hospital to be fitted with a knee and ankle brace.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
Cwrt Tarell is a housing association complex of flats in Brecon

Defence barrister John Ryan described it as a "low-grade" fraud and added: "He's had a great deal of trouble coming to terms with admitting to his mother what he's done."

Harrison admitted a £9,680 fraud which included the housing association's legal expenses.

Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke told him: "These sort of offences are not victimless - both the housing association and their insurers were put to some difficulty with the claim you persisted with."

Det Con Joanne Farrell, who led the investigation for the City of London Police's Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, said Harrison initially claimed police were misinterpreting the footage.

"Eventually he saw sense and pleaded guilty before his trial began, and has been rightfully punished for trying to steal several thousand pounds from the insurer," she added.