‘Disabled’ benefits fraudster jailed after being caught dancing on video

William Allison was caught dancing on holiday.
William Allison was caught dancing on holiday.
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A benefits fraudster who claimed he was too disabled to walk more than a few yards was caught after investigators found YouTube clips showing him “dancing energetically” on holiday.

Officials from the Department for Work and Pensions also put former soldier William Allison under surveillance and filmed him walking 726 yards unaided, a court heard.

William Allison was jailed at Livingston Sheriff Court. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

William Allison was jailed at Livingston Sheriff Court. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The Army veteran had claimed he was unable to take more than a few steps without a walking aid.

He told officials he could only go outside if assisted by another person or with the use of a wheelchair.

He also misrepresented his mobility and care needs by saying he needed help with his personal care day and night.

His scam – which netted him £30,000 over 14 years – finally came to an end when he was jailed for 10 months at Livingston Sheriff Court today.

Allison, 56, of Fallas Place, Fauldhouse, West Lothian, earlier pled guilty on indictment to falsely claiming the cash between 7 June 2000 and 5 August 2014.

Katrine Craig, prosecuting, said throughout this time the accused repeatedly confirmed his false position as and when he was asked to do so.

However, the DWP launched an investigation after receiving confidential information that Allison wasn’t as disabled as he pretended to be.

They put him under surveillance and watched him walking a substantial distance without help and driving an unadapted car without any apparent difficulty.

Mrs Craig added: “The DWP also checked the internet and they were able to find clips on YouTube from 2013.

“The accused was on holiday at that time and was dancing energetically without any apparent difficulty.

“He was interviewed in July 2014 and at this time was in a wheelchair.

“He was shown the evidence and he confirmed that the male in the video was himself but stated that he could only walk so far and drive the car due to being ‘pumped up’ with tablets.

“He also admitted that he was the person shown on YouTube. His benefit was thereafter stopped.”

Neil Robertson, defending, said his client disputed that he was the dancer shown in the online video and couldn’t recall making any admission that it was him.

He said Allison had suffered a bad back injury while he was in the Army and for years had been unable to move or walk at times.

Mr Robertson said Allison had been decorated by the Army following active tours in the Falklands and Northern Ireland but had been forced to resign as a result of the back injury he sustained.

He added: “This is a man whose life has been blighted by pain that’s been brought about as a result of him serving in the Army.

“Since 2000 he’s been on a number of painkillers and in April this year he suffered a heart attack he believes is stress-related arising out of this prosecution.

“The dispute here is whether he was entitled to the low rate or higher rate of Disability Living Allowance.

“He was never fit to work but he was sometimes fit to walk.”

“He genuinely was unhealthy and he always qualified for the lower rate of disability.

“He didn’t always qualify for the higher rate.”

Passing sentence, Sheriff Ian Anderson told him: “At the end of the day this is a substantial fraud of public money carried out over an extended period.

“It does seem to me a custodial sentence is required.”

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