A long-term disability claimant who told investigators that “everyone exaggerates their claims” has been jailed after it was revealed that, far from being unable to walk, he was actually an award-winning body builder.
Peter Beddoe, 49, had originally taken up body-building after an accident that damaged his spine, and was in receipt of a high rate of disability benefit because it left him unable to walk unaided or work. What he did not tell the government was his body-building had become so successful he had regained his ability to walk and had become a national role-model for other weightlifters, and even won regional titles.
Beddoe illegally claimed £28,332 in benefits, the court, ruled and the judge sentenced him to six months in prison for his “disgraceful” crime. The prosecutor said: “the investigation discovered Mr Beddoe was a known bodybuilder and was involved in competitive body building. He won the Mr Wales over 40 title along with the South Coast championships in 2009.
“Between 2008 and 2013 he visited the gym more than 1,100 times”. The investigation revealed 340 of those visits took place in just one year. The fraud only came to light after two anonymous tip-offs about his double life, meaning despite his impressive statute, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) was unable to detect his improving health.
The Daily Telegraph reports Beddoe was utterly unrepentant, remarking that disability fraud was commonplace. He said: “everyone exaggerates their claims”. A ‘Fraud Leader’ from the DWP said of the case: “We were very surprised when we had two anonymous tip-offs that a body builder was receiving disability benefits. He was very well known as a figure in the community where he lives – he was known and respected.
“It is our duty to ensure that benefit payments go to those who really need them and we are committed to cracking down on those who play the system”.