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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 January 2006, 13:56 GMT
Tyre fitter's 'disability' claim
CCTV footage of James Kirwan

A man who was caught working as a tyre fitter while claiming disability benefits has been sentenced to 240 hours' community service.

James Kirwan, 41, of Speke, was secretly filmed bending down and lifting large tyres while working at Tom Tully Tyres, in Liverpool.

He was also claiming disability living allowance and incapacity benefit.

A judge at Liverpool Magistrates Court sentenced him to the maximum community rehabilitation order.

The married father-of-two also claimed invalidity carer's allowance, on the grounds that he looked after his ill wife.

'Legitimate claim'

Last November, the same court was told Kirwan falsely claimed 8,795 between May and November 2004.

Rachel Oakdene, defending, said Kirwan suffered arthritis and osteoporosis and was initially a legitimate claimant of disability benefits.

She said he went back to work after medical treatments eased his back pain, and because the family had run up credit card and store catalogue debts of 27,000.

Although he failed to declare the work to the Department of Work and Pensions, he made a full admission when interviewed by investigators.

Ms Oakdene said: "He is concerned about the embarrassment and the shame and the difficulties he has brought on his family."

District Judge Ian Lomax said: "I make no issue of that. He has brought it upon himself.

"This is a case at the upper end of seriousness. I think the public would be outraged that someone claiming they were too unwell to work was employed in such a laborious, physical job as a tyre fitter."

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