Sheffield benefit cheats caught working

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A married couple who claimed they were too ill to work were caught by benefits bosses carrying out voluntary work while fleecing tax payers out of £41,000.

Ernest Kilford, aged 70, volunteered for Sheffield Wildlife Trust while wife Kim, 54, helped out at the Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Andrew Sandford, prosecuting, said Mr Kilford began claiming disability allowance in 1997 legitimately because he was suffering arthritis and panic attacks.

But when his health improved he failed to tell the authorities.

Mr Sandford said: “In 2012 information was received and surveillance was carried out. He walked from his home to the bus and from the train station to Sheffield Wildlife Trust.

“He was seen to bend, stretch, carry tools and walk on uneven and slippery ground.”

He was well enough to walk his dog and help children with their reading.

He was paid £21, 170 he was not entitled to.

Mrs Kilford was ‘virtually unable to walk’ when she applied for disability living allowance but by 2005 her health improved.

She volunteered for the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service at the hospital since 2006, dishonestly claiming £20,663.

The pair, of Motehall Drive, Manor, were spared immediate custody after the court heard Mr Kilford had been diganosed with cancer and Mrs Kilford was his carer.

They were given four months, suspended for two years and Mrs Kilford must do 80 hours unpaid work.