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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 14:10 GMT
Marathon man admits benefit fraud
Stephen Sinnott (left) running
Stephen Sinnott (left) was filmed on 10 mile training runs
A man who was caught training for a marathon while receiving almost 23,000 in disability allowances has admitted benefit fraud.

Stephen Sinnott claimed he could walk only a short distance but undercover officers secretly filmed him running up to 10 miles on a number of occasions.

Sinnott, 49, of Benton Close, Kirkdale, Liverpool, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday.

He is due back before the court for sentencing on 22 March.

The investigation began in September 2004 following an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public.

Trying to beat our investigators is one race you can't win
Anti-fraud Minister James Plaskitt
Sinnott had been claiming Disability Living Allowance for 11 years, saying he was incapable of walking more than 45 yards and needed assistance getting dressed and preparing meals.

But investigators found that he had been an active member of the Penny Lane Striders Running Club since October 1996.

He was regularly seen running about 10 miles during training sessions, driving and using public transport with no signs of restricted mobility.

Records from the North of England Athletic Association show he also entered various races.

Sinnott pleaded guilty to two counts of false accounting and one count of failure to notify the Department for Work and Pensions of a change in circumstance.

He asked for 234 other counts of false accounting to be taken into consideration.

Speaking after the hearing, Anti-fraud Minister James Plaskitt said: "Trying to beat our investigators is one race you can't win.

"As well as skilled investigators we have the support of the public and with computers continually crosschecking data it means you can run but you can't hide."




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Watch the secret footage filmed by fraud investigators



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