'Disabled' Newton Aycliffe benefit cheat Alan Lawson jailed

A man who claimed he could hardly walk has been jailed for swindling almost £90,000 in benefits after being caught working as a gym instructor.

Alan Lawson, of Bishop Auckland, pocketed the money over eight years after suffering a back injury that meant he could only walk with a stick.

But when the 58-year-old improved he failed to inform the authorities.

He was convicted of failing to notify of a change in circumstances and jailed for eight months.

He was also found guilty at Durham Crown Court of making a false statement to obtain benefits.

The hearing heard while claiming money for barely being able to walk, Lawson was working as a fitness instructor at Newton Aycliffe leisure centre.

A spokesman for Durham County Council confirmed the defendant was no longer an employee.

A council statement said: "The council takes benefit fraud very seriously and we investigate and assist with any investigations where any member of staff is suspected of falsely claiming benefits."

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