July 25 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
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.
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.