Guard guilty of benefit fraud

John Donnelly, Wakefield magistrates
John Donnelly, Wakefield magistrates

A MAN claimed more than £28,000 in incapacity benefit while working as a security guard for seven years.

John Donnelly was found guilty of two counts of benefit fraud at Wakefield Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The court heard the 57-year-old, of Lombardy Court, Ossett, had failed to tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that he had been working full-time since 2002 and continued to claim incapacity benefit.

Donnelly, who suffers from arthritis and leg problems, had pocketed £28,189 by the time he was found out in 2009.

He claimed he had told job centre staff in Wakefield he was employed in 2002.

But prosecutor Jeremy Cook said there was no record of this and Donnelly had failed to mention his job on many benefit forms.

He said: “Years on the benefits continued to be paid. Surely any reasonable, intelligent man would have thought of picking up the phone and informing the department.”

Donnelly told the court he thought he was entitled to his benefits but that in hindsight he should have checked whether or not he was.

He will be sentenced later this month at Leeds Crown Court.