Leeds store worker’s £14,000 fake disability claim

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A BENEFITS cheat obtained more than £14,000 after claiming she was suffering from a debilitating mental illness while working at a DIY store.

Lorraine Whymark told authorities she needed constant care and was unable to walk more than 300 meters in a day.

In reality she walked a mile to work each day before carrying out her duties in customer services at a B&Q store.

Leeds Crown Court heard Whymark, 55, carried out the deception for four years before the offending came to light.

Robert Stephenson, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court Whymark submitted a claim to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in 2009 claiming that she was too ill to work as she was suffering from depression and anxiety. Whymark also claimed she was too ill to leave the house, suffered from panic attacks and required a carer.

Mr Stephenson said Whymark was working for B&Q at the time of being awarded benefits and continued doing her job. She made a further claim in 2011 stating that her condition had become worse.

The prosecutor said: “Inquiries by the DWP revealed that none of the B&Q management or her colleagues had ever seen any of the conditions that she claimed.”

Whymark was interviewed about the false claims in autumn last year in which she claimed to “put on a mask” while at work so her colleagues did not know.

Whymark, of Cross Green Lane, Halton, Leeds, pleaded guilty to two offences of making false representations.

The court heard Whymark has begun to repay the money she falsely obtained at £150 per month.

John Bechelor, mitigating, said Whymark was of previous good character and had admitted the offences at an early opportunity. He said his client suffered some mental health problems and was now seeking help.

He said: “She has very nervously been awaiting her fate. she is a very anxious lady.”

Whyment was made the subject of a 12-month community order and told she must to 140 hours unpaid work.

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