A REDDITCH man who played football while claiming disability benefits for walking difficulties, and who continued to claim other benefits despite having received a large compensation award, has been convicted of benefit fraud.

Martin Smith, 43, of Radford House, Batchley, was given a three year conditional discharge at Redditch Magistrates Court earlier this month after pleading guilty to offences of dishonestly claiming income support, housing benefit, council tax benefit and disability living allowance amounting to £19,736.49 between December 2009 and November 2013.

Magistrates heard that Smith had continued to claim benefits that he was not entitled to by failing to inform the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Redditch Council that he had received a large amount of money through a compensation award.

The court also heard how he had falsely claimed benefits by failing to declare that a medical condition had improved. Fraud investigators had conducted surveillance showing him playing five-a-side football despite claiming to have difficulty walking.

The investigation was led by the DWP who invited Redditch Council to work with them to uncover the full extent of offending.

A spokesperson for Redditch Council said: “This case again demonstrates the importance of anyone claiming benefit declaring their true circumstances, and the consequences of not doing so. We work together with other organisations and will prosecute together in such cases.”

All the money will be recovered by the DWP and council through their own methods.

Anybody wishing to report suspicions of benefit fraud is encouraged to do so by ringing Redditch Council’s investigation team on 01527 534011 or by emailing details to benefitsfraud@redditchbc.gov.uk.