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Jazz Dancing Benefits Cheat Escapes Jail

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A 61-year-old jazz dancer, who swindled more than £30,000 in disability and housing benefits, has walked free from court.

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/5/20100804/tod-jazz-dancing-benefits-cheat-escapes-870a197.html' rel="external nofollow">

Terence Read of Blackley, Manchester, said he was crippled by arthritis and barely able to walk, but his condition improved greatly after he had a hip operation in 2003.

However, he continued to claim the benefits, failing to inform the Department for Work and Pensions of his change in situation.

He was caught out when officials covertly filmed him dancing enthusiastically at a swing dance night after an anonymous tip-off.

Read was recorded whisking his partner round the dance floor decked out in a three-piece suit, spats and a bow-tie.

Crowds of onlookers cheered him on in a dance competition as he spun his partner round and completed a series of complex moves - all while he was falsely claiming an disability allowance.

The 61-year-old pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court to failing to promptly notify the authorities of a change in circumstances.

Jonathan Rogers, prosecuting, said Read suffered extreme pain in 1995, but within two years of his hip operation he was able to carry out "normal and energetic day-to-day activities".

Since at least 2005, the defendant had been organising and taking part in swing dancing events across the Greater Manchester area. David James, defending, said his client was in pain after dancing, but he was willing to put up with it as he was enjoying his new lease of life.

"He is a proud man who has been humbled by his fallibility," he said. "The interest in this case has been quite a significant punishment. It is difficult to walk and hold his head high now."

Sentencing Read at Manchester Crown Court, Judge Rudland told him in his case public interest was not served by imposing a custodial sentence.

He was given a 12-month community order and ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work.

Outside the court, Read thanked the judge for "a very fair assessment" of the case. "I apologise publically for the error that I made, I am very, very sorry and I fully intend to engage 100% in the community service order passed," he said.

Read cheated taxpayers out of a total of £19,915.90 in Disability Living Allowance and a further £10,600.58 in housing benefit.

According to this assessment then community service pays around £250 ph. Nice work if you can get it. Does this really act as a deterrent to benefit fraudsters? (Sorry to go all DM on you, but some people work v. hard for 30k).

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This was on both BBC and ITV news bulletins today, including footage of him dancing. Like a 61 y.o. Kid Creole he was. A bit more complicated than some other cases. He WAS very ill, had a hip replacement op and then didn't tell them he was felling better and was more mobile.

If it had been a faked illness, jail time I expect. I believe he has to pay the frauduent claims back, but then the DM wouldn't want to tell you that.

In fact it does:

"Read, of Northwold Drive, has paid back £3,000 of the money owed and a plan is in place to settle the remainder."

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'Read was recorded whisking his partner round the dance floor decked out in a three-piece suit, spats and a bow-tie.'

Unmistakeable benefit fraudster's outfit. The Terry Thomas syndrome yet again. The man's clearly a cad of the first water.

Cheeky bugger was not only filmed dancing like a live prawn on a hotplate, but also humping the band's amplifiers into the venue!

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