Caught: dancing cheat who said he was too ill to walk
Reporter: KAREN DOHERTY
Date online: 12 July 2010
NIMBLE Terence Read shows off his fancy footwork for the Oldham Chronicle.
But at the time the dapper 1940s fan had been claiming benefits for crippling arthritis which, he said, had left him in a wheelchair.
The 61-year-old from Blackley fraudulently pocketed more than £30,000 in state hand-outs for 3 1/2 years.
But he was caught when investigators for the Department of Work and Pension (DWP) filmed him — in a trilby, dapper suit, spats and bow tie — at a big band and rock n’ roll dance competition in Manchester.
Crowds of onlookers cheered and applauded as he performed the energetic jitterbug, Charleston and lindy hop with his glamorous partner.
And judges gave the five-minute high-kicking and twisting routine glowing reviews.
Read, who DJs at the Friends of the Forties Night at the Lancaster Club, Failsworth, began claiming disability allowance (DLA) in March, 1995, stating he suffered from arthritis and depression.
He was paid at the highest rate based on the fact that he said he was virtually unable to walk and frequently needed help day and night.
But he failed to inform officials that his health had improved. They started checking on his true condition in 2008 after a tip-off.
Read was overpaid £19,915.90 in DLA and £10,600.58 in housing benefit. He originally denied the offence, but changed his plea to guilty at Manchester Crown Court last week.
The court heard that he had paid back £2,185.14 to date and sentencing was adjourned until August 4.
After the case a friend said: “He genuinely believed he had not done anything wrong but it was clear he was caught hook, line and sinker.
“Terry is obviously fast on his feet but was not fleet footed enough to dodge out of being caught.”
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