Benefit cheat caught after being filmed running at Crufts dog show

Benefit cheat caught after being filmed running at Crufts dog show

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A woman who was paid £12,500 in fraudulent disability benefits has been given a 12-month community order after being filmed running at a dog show.

Linda Avery, 57, from Plymouth, allegedly claimed she struggled to walk, but was caught running her dog around rings at Crufts.

Following the Department for Work and Pensions spotting a Facebook photo of Avery at the dog show in 2015, the department filmed her at another show in Paignton, Devon, in 2016.



Avery, who does walk with a stick, pleaded guilty to dishonestly failing to notify an improvement in her condition affecting her claim for Disability Living Allowance between October 2014 and July 2016.

She was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work and 20 days of rehabilitation requirement at Plymouth Crown Court.

Judge James Townsend who sentenced Avery, described her as “entirely dishonest”.

Linda Avery outside Plymouth Crown Court. 

In August 2016, Avery was filmed a Paignton dog show lifting a dog off a platform and running alongside it.

Ali Rafati, who represented Avery, disputed the exact sum of money involved.

He added that since February of last year she had paid back just under £2,000 to the department.

He said that Avery had "difficulties and limitations", but these were not spelt out in court.

The repayment of the fraudulently claimed money will be agreed at a separate Proceeds of Crime hearing in August.

The Department for Work and Pensions said that “only a small minority of benefit claimants are dishonest”.

Speaking after the case a DWP spokesman added: “Cases like this show how we are catching those who cheat the system and divert taxpayers' money from the people who need it.

“We are determined to catch those we suspect of fraudulently claiming benefits by following up on tip-offs, undertaking surveillance and working with local councils.”