`

Former Fylde councillor will spend three months on an electronic tag for benefit fraud

A former politician who defrauded the public purse of thousands of pounds has been given a  suspended jail term.

Former Fylde councillor Albert Pounder, 74, who represented the Conservative party, claimed housing and disability benefits he was not entitled to, lying on a claim form that walking short distances made him "breathless".

Albert Pounder

Albert Pounder

Under secret surveillance he was seen walking unaided, folding and carrying a table, at Staining Field Day in 2015.

Judge Beverley Lunt, sitting at Preston Crown Court, imposed 26 weeks in jail but agreed to suspend it for a year.

However, for the next three months the disgraced politician, whose victims include the authority he worked for, will be subject to an electronically tagged curfew.

He must also pay a £115 surcharge.

Pounder had denied claiming £10,422,60 in disability living allowance 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.

But jurors at Preston Crown Court found him guilty of two charges of benefit fraud following his trial, agreeing he dishonestly failed to notify the authorities about his true mobility and care needs.
Pounder, of Queens Drive, Staining, represented the village of Staining and was made portfolio holder on Fylde Council for customer and operational services before retiring on health grounds last year.

The court previously heard he has been in receipt of DLA since 1996 and was receiving the high rate mobility component of £57.45 per week and a middle rate care component of £55.10.

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

He said he could only walk 50 yards before he felt severe discomfort, needed assistance getting out of the bath, and with washing his hair, and sometimes needed help climbing stairs.

Suspicious DWP officers, authorised to carry out surveillance, spotted him walking up steps to the Town Hall without any walking aid.