THIS is the moment a benefits cheat who claimed he could not walk unaided was caught ten-pin bowling.
David Prewitt received more than £18,000 of taxpayers’ money for his disability he was not entitled to, but was captured on secret cameras, having been a member of a bowling club for at least four years.
But, the 62-year-old walked free from court and the Daily Echo understands he has not paid any money back.
Southampton Crown Court heard Prewitt received high rate disability living allowance for a damaged knee, which had started out as a genuine claim in 2006.
He completed a renewal form in December 2008 stating he walked with a stick, used a long handled shoe horn and was helped day to day by his girlfriend with dressing and undressing, getting in and out of the bed and bath, walking and getting up when he fell.
He stated he could walk short distances with a walking stick and suffered from chronic pain syndrome, osteoarthritis and emphysema.
But observation of Prewitt between January and February 2014 revealed a change.
In video footage he can be seen throwing a ball down the lane for a strike and then walking back to high-fives from his friends.
Tom Wilkins, prosecuting, said he was seen arriving alone at Millbrook bowling alley, walking in unaided, standing for long periods of time, bowling, carrying drinks and changing his shoes without help.
He walked a distance of around 70 metres without apparent difficulty.
In interview Prewitt, of Compton Place, Moorgreen Road, West End, accepted this and admitted to carrying out building work in Cornwall, which included climbing up ladders and cutting down a tree with a chainsaw.
Prewitt admitted a charge of dishonestly failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions of a change of circumstances, that his physical abilities had improved, between February 4, 2009 and March 18, 2014, dishonestly claiming £18,132.
Andrew Coley, mitigating, said his original claim was legitimate and a medical note showed Prewitt continued to suffer “substantial difficulties” but had found a way to deal with them.
The court heard Prewitt, who has not worked since 2009, but is currently looking for driving work, had not considered the consequences and was sorry.
Prewitt told probation how his Cornwall work was unpaid and more of an advisory role and that he had been able to go bowling because he was taking more painkillers than he should, the court heard.
His Employment Support Allowance stopped six months ago because he had been on it the maximum time so he has no income and thousands of pounds of debts, the court was told.
He could not do unpaid work for health reasons.
Recorder Nicholas Hall, sentencing Prewitt to five months in prison suspended for 18 months, said: “There must have plainly come a time between 2009 and when you were interviewed when you were absolutely crystal clear what you were doing and that was being a benefit cheat.”