Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire benefits cheat was dancing karaoke host

A benefits cheat from Lincolnshire has been given a suspended prison sentence after being caught "singing and dancing" as a karaoke host.

Geoffrey Lindley, 54, claimed £54,000 in disability and incapacity payments, saying he could only walk 8-10m in about 20 minutes.

But he was covertly filmed performing to songs at pubs in the Skegness area.

At Lincoln Crown Court, he admitted benefit fraud and was sentenced to nine months, suspended for two years.

The court heard Lindley, who suffered from a heart complaint, first began claiming benefits in 1996.

Bingo caller

Faye Mellor, for the prosecution, said that as he began to improve and started working again, he failed to let the Department for Work and Pensions know about the change in his circumstances.

She said he had filled in a self assessment form in 2002 in which he said his movement was limited.

Miss Mellor said: "He said he had to always be accompanied because he suffered panic attacks and chest pains.

"He went on to say he had angina, pain and dizziness, and breathlessness, and it was dangerous if he was around roads."

The DWP became aware that he was working again and started "covert surveillance" in which he was shown working as an entertainer and a bingo caller.

'Taste of custody'

Lindley, of Parla Court in Chapel St Leonards, pleaded guilty to two charges of falsely claiming incapacity benefit and falsely claiming disability living allowance between 2 March 2003 and 21 July 2009 - totalling £54,259.

Recorder Timothy Spencer QC put him in court cells for nearly five hours as he considered his sentence.

He said he wanted to give Lindley "a taste of custody" and warned he had come "very, very close" to a spell in prison.

Colin Hart, representing Lindley, said he had only earned around £100 for each performance, and a substantial amount of those earnings were donated to charities such as Macmillan Nurses, Cancer Research, and the British Heart Foundation.

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