Ex politician accused of benefit fraud was 'under surveillance' at Staining Field Day

A former councillor has denied allegations he claimed housing and disability benefits he was not entitled to.

Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 4:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 5:12 pm
Albert Pounder

Albert Pounder, 74, who represented the Conservative party, is alleged to have claimed £10,422,60 in disability living allowance over a period between August 2014 and May 2016, and £467.23 of housing benefit from Fylde Council - the authority he represented - between April 2016 and May 2016.

Pounder, who was made portfolio holder on Fylde Council for customer and operational services before retiring on health grounds last year, is accused of dishonestly failing to notify the authorities about his true mobility and care needs in order to make a financial gain.

The two frauds are alleged to have taken place when Pounder, of Queens Drive, Staining, represented the village of Staining for Fylde Council.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Preston Crown Court heard he has been in receipt of DLA since 1996 and was receiving the high rate mobility component of £57.45 per week (which he used towards a car under the Motability Vehicle Scheme) and middle rate care component of £55.10.

In a DLA form in 1995 Mr Pounder said walking short distances made him "breathless", and needed to "rest to regain my breath".

He said he could walk 50 yards before he felt severe discomfort, and that he needed assistance getting out of the bath, and with washing my hair owing to" the difficulty in lifting my right arm above my shoulder without causing great pain owing to the tendonitis in my shoulder".

He also said depending on his condition at the time he sometimes required assistance to climb stairs.

In another DLA medical report he said he could not walk more than 15-20 yards because of breathless and pain in his feet.

Prosecuting, Daniel Travers said: " Clearly the impression Mr Pounder gave in those forms was that he could only walk very short distances, and had to use a stick and could not lift his left arm due to a painful shoulder."

The court was told DWP officers were authorised to carry out surveillance on him.

One one occasion he was seen driving his vehicle and getting out and walking up steps to the Town Hall.

He was seen walking without any walking aid.

Surveillance was also conducted at the Staining Village field day in September 2015.

In evidence one investigator said he had seen Mr Pounder walk across Chain Lane around 200 yards and lean on a gate.

Mr Travers said: "Towards the end at 4.15pm did you observe him clearing up tables before folding a table and carrying it inside?"

The investigator replied: "Yes".