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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Salsa teacher in benefits fraud
Department for Work and Pensions
The Department for Work and Pensions investigated Dennis
A dance teacher has been caught giving salsa lessons while claiming 7,800 in disability benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has said.

John Dennis, 47, from Ceredigion, taught classes at five different venues in mid and south west Wales.

But the former West End dancer was being paid benefits at the same time, claiming an injury in 2000 had caused arthritis in his knees.

He was caught after an anonymous caller phoned the DWP benefit fraud hotline.

Dennis, from Llanddewi-Brefi, near Tregaron, claimed he could not work because he needed walking sticks to get around.

After receiving an anonymous tip-off, benefit fraud investigators discovered Dennis had been giving dance lessons in salsa and hip-hop working at schools in Aberaeron, Newcastle Emlyn, Cardigan, New Quay and Aberystwyth.

Between July 2002 and August 2005, he was falsely claiming disability allowance and from July 2002 to March 2005 he was falsely claiming incapacity benefit.

Dennis admitted two charges of making false representations and asked for 15 other offences of making false claims and obtaining benefit by deception to be considered at Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court.

He was ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service as punishment.

The court heard that Dennis had started claiming the benefits legally seven years ago when he was first injured, but continued to claim after going back to work.

DWP minister James Plaskitt said: "Benefit fraud is theft and we are committed to catching benefit thieves who commit this crime - no ifs, no buts.

"There are no excuses for taking money that isn't yours. Calls to the National Benefit Fraud Hotline show how strong the support for our campaign is."

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