Ipswich: Benefits cheat Angela Wegg who was overpaid £43,000 is spared prison term

Angela Wegg leaving Ipswich Crown Court. Angela Wegg leaving Ipswich Crown Court.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
1:16 PM

A benefits cheat who worked in a bakery and a nursing home while claiming she was so disabled that she needed help to wash and dress has walked free from court after a judge decided not to send her straight to prison.

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Mother-of-two Angela Wegg was overpaid more than £43,000 over seven years after failing to notify the authorities that her health had improved, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

In a claim form for Disability Living Allowance, Wegg had stated she could only walk one to three metres and needed help for daily activities such as washing, dressing and making meals, said Marcus Croskell, prosecuting.

However after the Department of Work and Pensions received a tip-off it was discovered that Wegg had been working in the bakery at Tescos in Ipswich and also at the town’s Monmouth Court care home.

“Part of these duties involved bending, stretching, walking
and carrying items,” Mr Crosskell said.

He said at no stage was Wegg seen using a walking aid and investigators who carried out surveillance saw her walking up to 3km with her two German Shepherd dogs and walking her children to school.

Wegg, 34, of Bramford Road, Ipswich, admitted dishonestly failing to notify a change in her circumstances between November 2005 and June 2013 and was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to attend a Women’s Emotional Well Being course.

Sentencing her, Judge David Goodin said Wegg had the “dreadful misfortune” to suffer from a
hereditary illness.

However, he said that although her original claim for DLA was genuine she had failed to notify the
authorities when she became able to work and walk more than three metres.

A proceeds of crime hearing will take place later in the year.

Declan Gallagher, for Wegg,
said she suffered from a syndrome which affected connective tissues
in her body and in November last year she was prescribed oral morphine by her GP to control her pain.

He accepted that Wegg’s
capabilities became greater than she had declared but said she had not been living an extravagant lifestyle and her jobs had only paid the minimum wage.

Mr Gallagher said Wegg, who has two children aged eight and 12, had no previous convictions and was repaying the amount she had been overpaid at £20 a month.

20 comments

  • David Cameron :- Demonize the tiny minority of benefit cheats while letting corporations like Starbucks, Amazon and Vodafone get away with billions in complex tax manipulation schemes because it keeps the plebs fighting among themselves. I for one don't fall for it, should you?

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    fuztownsend

    Sunday, June 29, 2014

  • With a connective tissue disorder such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) the condition is highly variable. As a sufferer myself I have varied from needing crutches to walk 50 metres through to walking from Felixstowe to Trimley unaided (about two miles) [but was so tired I couldn't work the next day]. When I applied for PIP I was advised when I have a variable condition to detail the worst days and report if my overall condition improved over time. Within ten weeks I moved from considering wheelchairs and mobility scooters to the walk to Trimley from Felixstowe yesterday. I wasn't able to claim PIP on a technicality anyway (I would have been eligible for DLA under the previous system). EDS is one of those conditions where people who suffer from it look 'normal', in some cases the only sign is the use of walking aids or a wheelchair - some permanently and some during pain spikes. Believe me when you've lived with pain spikes and needing Morphine just to be able to sit down and not scream with pain then you'll respect those with chronic illness a lot more. EDS goes through highs and lows of pain - we call it 'pain spikes' - at its worst someone who hasn't suffered from chronic pain will never really be able to understand how severe it is. When there's a judgement of paying back £20month it's usually because the judge feels that the person is guilty of a technicality rather than ill intentioned. This article is exaggerated and excludes a number of supportive comments made by the judge. It's spun to expose a 'benefit cheat' rather than someone who has suffered for years who happens to have a period of low pain.

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    Marcus M

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • She's got off to lightly, she wont ever pay it all back, if she lives to 100, she'll only have paid back £15.840. Should have sent her to prison as well or at the very least community service.

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    law abiding citizen

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • if you can only walk four metres you are classed as fit.?what idiot thought that one up.?

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • This is disgusting and the sentence passed down is a joke. They should force her to pay the full amount back asàp - instead of in mediocre amounts. These people hounded us for ages when they overpaid us - insuring we paid it back as soon as possible.

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    oilburner1978

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • joke. nice pic with the walking aid lol

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    rumbler

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • I think anyone who is convicted of benefit fraud should forfeit the right to claim any kind of state benefit ever again.....

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Sentinel Red

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • A suspended sentence and attending a Women's Emotional Well Being course that will teach her.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    royg

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • first the Fisks, now this. Clearly I'm in the wrong job.. oh wait, thats the problem, I have a job. Time to quit.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    You What

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • Unfortunatley this story will put some genuine people off claiming DLA PIP when they really need it. Even if the story has been exaggerated it seems clear that she should have informed them of an improvement in her condition. I am angry that she is replaying such a small amount and also very angry that she gets counselling when some people who desperately need it have to wait for months and months.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    busylady

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • This story is a terrible blow to people like me who suffer from a connective tissue disorder like Angela does. It is a disgrace to our medical community as many like myself are left disabled by this hideous condition, many left in wheelchairs because of it. We are now left afraid that we will all be judged to be the same as this woman. Please do not tar us all with the same brush, many of us really aren't able to wash, clothe or take care of ourselves and need constant care. There are so many different degrees of this condition that no 2 people are the same. Unfortunately a dramatic recovery like this ladies is almost never heard of us. Most of us can only dream we will be able to work one day. We just hope this doesnt change peoples opinion on our chronic disabling condition. Its hard enough living with with the constant fight against your own body without people not believing it is real.

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    Chronic illness fighter

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • It's the children I feel sorry for. When I was a child my mother was a single mother and she worked 3 jobs just to put food on the table. When she became ill with leukaemia and couldn't work 3 years ago she was paid a pitiful £104 a week in sickness benefit. The amount didn't even cover her mortgage payments in a month and hence she lost everything. There is something seriously wrong with the benefits system.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Ashley Barrett

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • She's already cost the tax payer enough money, sending her to prison will only cost us more. A public flogging would be a cheaper punishment, of course on top of having to pay back every penny.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    RC

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • As I approach retirement, and with the police pension not being as good as people think, I've been considering a little business venture. In my years of frequenting court rooms around Suffolk I've noticed that many defendents use crutches, sticks and other mobility aids to add an air of pathos and vulnerability, hoping no doubt for a bit of unwarranted leniency. They often carry the sticks under their arms or let their friends carry them until their time in the dock arrives. Now, what I'm wondering, is where they get all these surgical appliances? Is there a place where you can hire them? Or have I just spotted a gap in the market, which will lead to untold prosperity for PC Bill Plod (Retired)?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    PC Plod

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • Pathetic British Justice !

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • I can understand the comments about the repayments but I do notice that there is to be a "proceeds of crime" hearing in the near future. To me, that indicates that she has something, property, goods or cash, that the court may order forfeiture of. They would not be holding one if there was nothing to seize.

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • look at the shame you have brought on your family, lets hope you pay back every penny you stole from people who really need this money

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    jlumpkin

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • A PC-obsessed state once again. The concept is you make a claim for a benefit and your number one responsibility is to notify DWP of ANY change for when you lose your entitlement. Of course, she has a nasty condition which makes it unjustifiable to send her to prison... but wait, she can work in Tesco, hold down a second job and walk miles with her dog... not sure what's stopping her from going to prison? Devil is in the detail... so there might be "technicalities" around what you claim for and reality... there is a significant difference between 3m and 3000m - its not 3m and 30m (i.e. slight improvement) - and the difference between someone needing to help her wash and dress when the great irony is her second job probably involved her washing and dressing other people!! What was funny for me is how she got sent on a "Women’s Emotional Well Being" course... this is probably the "get out of jail free" card. DWP would have spent significant time gathering evidence likely around £20k to taxpayers money... the debt to the taxpayer is never getting paid off. Taking into account inflation etc. it will take over 200 years to get the money back and I am sure after 20 years payments will stop anyhow. The system is a joke.

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • Can never work out why judges never seem to apply a correct sentence for a crime!!Fraud of this size should be at least 2 years jail.Nothing here to deter others.

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    tonyb

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  • Excellent, in this instance crime does pay as it will take her 179 years to clear this debt at £20 a month. Beyond a joke!!!!

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    steven pink

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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