Benefit fraud in this country costs an estimated £3.6 Billion a year. No small amount I’m sure you’ll agree. Through a long and trusted relationship working with local councils and the DWP, we had investigated an array of benefit and injury claims. Many of our operations were geared towards claimants’ ailments and working arrangements but one case regarding a disability benefit claim was particularly shocking. The council will only investigate if they have good grounds to justify their actions and in this particular case they had more than enough to warrant an investigation.
A local council had received multiple tips suggesting that a claimant was lying about their disability, tips frequently come from disgruntled neighbours, colleagues and ex-partners but in this case the information had come from the family of the claimant. They had conducted an investigation of their own but the evidence was challenged in court and eventually discredited as the footage was taken in poor lighting and the claimant argued it wasn’t him. The council contacted us about the potential fraudster and relayed the information they had been given regarding the anonymous tip, along with the details of their own efforts. We were tasked with conducting surveillance at the subject’s home address, we were also given information suggesting that he may be walking his dogs late at night under the cover of darkness. The claimant stated he was paralysed from the waist down, he also claimed he needed full-time care so he had a carer living with him.
On the first day of surveillance, as discussed, a lady who appeared to be the subject’s carer emerged from the property. The address had all the mod cons needed for someone with a disability such as the subjects, including a motability vehicle on the driveway to support with travel. Shortly after the carer had emerged, the subject emerged using a walking frame and headed towards the vehicle, although it was a short distance these actions were clearly contradictory to his condition. Our instructions had been to simply monitor the property and the team wasn’t in a suitable position to follow the subject safely and discreetly. We reverted back to our client and reassessed the team size ensuring that the following day we would be capable of discreetly following the vehicle.
The following day at a similar time we witness the pair, as they did on the initial day, leave the property together and enter his vehicle. We followed them over a short journey to a nearby town, when the vehicle came to a stop outside a residential property. The carer and subject alighted the vehicle at the same time, where as if by magic, the subject gained the use of his legs and walked 50 metres unassisted towards the property. Our footage showed the subject demonstrating a full range of motion and clearly not requiring the support of his carer nor any walking aids. Our investigators monitored the property remaining patient until the subject left, and again, he walked with no assistance the full distance back to the vehicle. When they returned home the vehicle parked on the driveway where the carer went inside and collected the walking frame, she helped the subject out of the vehicle and they shuffled back inside his house again.
We informed the council and securely transferred our reports, they were astounded by the quality of our findings and informed us that the subject would more than likely challenge the evidence regardless of how clear and concise it was. As expected the subject was informed of the findings and rejected the statement, claiming that the person seen was not him, that his paralysis was not intermittent and that he would have never been capable of such movement. The claimant stated specifically that he had left the vehicle half way through the journey and that the man seen in the footage was a family member wearing similar clothing, our team attended court and played the footage in front of the judge. The judge allowed the defence to ask a question or two but immediately dismissed the questioning as irrelevant due to the clarity of the footage.
Our footage was the sole piece of evidence used to validate the numerous allegations about the claimants fraudulent injuries, the council said that without the outstanding work of our team they would have been unable to progress with the case due to insufficient evidence.