Benefits cheat secretly filmed running when she claimed she could barely walk jailed for TWO years

Annette Bond raked in £70K in benefits in 10 years claiming she could barely stand before being snared by fraud investigators 

A benefits cheat who was secretly filmed completing three mile runs when she claimed she could barely walk has been jailed for two years.

Annette Bond was paid almost £70,000 in benefits over ten years after claiming she could barely stand up due to multiple sclerosis.

However, the 50-year-old was filmed by fraud investigators running three mile circuits from her home in Stanley, Perthshire up to three times per week.

Yesterday the jeweller was sentenced to two years in prison following a hearing at Perth Sheriff Court.

Sheriff William Wood told her: ‘You must have known you did not meet the criteria for the benefits of which you were in receipt.

A sheriff told Bond her conduct could be characterised as a ¿prolonged and egregious course of dishonesty¿

A sheriff told Bond her conduct could be characterised as a ‘prolonged and egregious course of dishonesty’

‘Your conduct can only be characterised as a prolonged and egregious course of dishonesty, for which there is no excuse.

‘You have obtained, through fraud, a significant sum of money to which you had no entitlement and you have deprived the taxpayer of funds that might have been usefully spent elsewhere.

‘You have defrauded the state of a large sum of money over a protracted period. I am satisfied only a custodial sentence is appropriate.’

Bond was also ordered to pay back the cash she conned from taxpayers under proceeds of crime legislation.

She was found guilty at an earlier hearing after jurors watched videos of her on three mile training runs while she was claiming she could barely get out of bed or walk without support.

The court heard how she spent a decade claiming ‘enhanced’ benefit payments due to a serious of conditions she claimed made it difficult for her to stand up or even get out of bed.

But a fraud investigation team set up secret surveillance to capture Bond running around lengthy circuits from her home up to four times a week.

Annette Bond was secretly filmed completing three mile runs when she claimed she could barely walk

Annette Bond was secretly filmed completing three mile runs when she claimed she could barely walk

The 50-year-old from Stanley, Perthshire, was filmed by fraud investigators

The 50-year-old from Stanley, Perthshire, was filmed by fraud investigators

The total amount claimed over the ten years was £67,062.50.

Department of Work and Pensions fraud investigator Scott Hodge, 54, said the team eventually quit the surveillance operation early because they had gathered so much damning evidence against Bond.

He told the court that the team parked in view of Bond’s home and filmed her running the same route three times in a ten-day period in 2017.

He told her trial: ‘She is walking briskly and then she turns at the junction and begins to run. That road was taking her away from Stanley and into a wooded area.

‘I have gone ahead of the subject and then captured footage of her running along the road back into Stanley. It would have been hills, ascents and descents, at various different parts of the journey.

‘We used an internet website to ascertain the distance. The estimated distance run was 4,800 metres - just short of three miles.’

He said Bond completed the run in 27 minutes.

He said the team had been granted a warrant to carry out the surveillance operation between 30 May and 29 August 2017, but brought it to a premature conclusion after less than two weeks.

She was caught on camera running up to four times per week

She was caught on camera running up to four times per week

Bond was sentenced to two years in prison following a hearing at Perth Sheriff Court

Bond was sentenced to two years in prison following a hearing at Perth Sheriff Court

Mr Hodge added: ‘It was felt that we would probably just see more of the same over the following days, so the decision was taken to end surveillance.’

On her claim form, Bond stated: ‘I prefer someone with me at all times when I am outdoors because I have poor balance. There is a risk of falling and dizzy spells.’

Her mother, Elizabeth Bond, 68, told the jury her daughter was diagnosed with MS in 2004, but exercised regularly to fight the condition.

Mrs Bond said: ‘I occasionally saw her when I was on the way to work. She was out running. I was very pleased to see she was fit enough to run.

‘It was most mornings on my way to work. For months. She seemed to walk quite well. She was exercising to try and strengthen her legs.’

In her own evidence, Bond admitted running around four times per week, but claimed the investigators happened to catch her out during a period when she was fitter.

In an agreed joint minute, the jury was told that Bond had not reported any change in her circumstances to the Department of Work and Pensions between June 2004 and November 2018.

The joint minute also confirmed she had been running an online business between 2013 and 2018. She gave ‘no comment’ answers during an interview at Perth Job Centre in 2019.

Bond was found guilty of fraudulently obtaining £67,062.50 in benefits from on or around April 2009 until November 2018.

The jury found her guilty of failing to tell the DWP about a change in her condition which meant her support needs and physical ability had improved.

The claims were for Disability Living Allowance ‘enhanced care’ and ‘enhanced mobility’ payments.

Sheriff Wood added: ‘On the basis of your application, you were awarded the highest rate of the care component and the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA.

‘These are normally for those who cannot or are virtually unable to walk unaided. Former work colleagues clearly indicated you did not require either the level of care or impaired mobility required for the benefits you claimed.’

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