Benefits fraudster caught out bowling

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A WOMAN who claimed she could hardly go out of her home and had difficulty standing was filmed bowling by undercover investigators.

The Department for Work and Pensions anti-fraud team watched as 52- year-old Jacqueline Howarth went bowling and walking her dog.

DWP'Jacqueline Howarth

DWP'Jacqueline Howarth

At the same time she was getting higher level Disability Living Allowance.

Howarth, of Marsh Lane, Hambleton, admitted failing to notify the DWP her mobility had improved.

Michael Woosnam, prosecuting for the Department, told Blackpool Magistrates Court Howarth failed to declare, on two occasions, that her mobility had improved.

He said that as a result she was overpaid £12,143 in benefits.

Mr Woosnam said: “Information was received by the department Mrs Howarth was a very active bowler .

“She was a member of her local club and would travel to competitions elsewhere.

“She was also watched walking her family pet dog more than 700 metres.

“This was despite her claim saying she was quite unwell because of a problem with her knee and could not stand for any length of time.”

Peter Manning, defending, said his client’s claim had started legitimately after she was injured in a car crash.

He said Mrs Howarth’s problems worsened when her husband was diagnosed with cancer.

He needed her assistance and the DWP had filmed her putting his wheelchair in her car.

He told the magistrates: “There was an improvement in her condition but her condition had worsened again and she needs morphine-based painkillers.”

Magistrates adjourned the case for pre-sentence reports to be carried out on the defendant.