08sa07sam_v01.jpg-pwrt2A MARATHON-running postman who claimed nearly £24,000 of Disability Living Allowance, saying he was in pain whenever he moved, has been spared an immediate jail term.

Sam Dixon claimed his skin condition psoriasis was so severe that it left him unable to move about.

But within a year of making the claim the 30-year-old had got a job with the Royal Mail, starting in the sorting office before moving on to pounding the streets.

And Dixon even ran the London Marathon while still claiming to be unfit, as well as cycling to work in Marlborough from his home in Swindon.

Now after hearing how he also suffers from bi-polar disorder and that his job was the stabilising feature in his life, a judge has imposed a suspended sentence.

Philip Warren, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how Dixon first made a claim for the benefit in April 2008 citing the two conditions.

On the application form he was asked ‘Do you have any physical problems that restrict you walking?’ to which he replied ‘Yes.’ Asked “How far can you walk before you feel severe discomfort?” and “How many minutes before severe discomfort?” he answered “straight away,” both times.

Mr Warren said in June 2008 he was awarded £84.75p a week Disability Living Allowance and was told to inform of any change in his condition.

But by the following April he was working for Royal Mail, first in the sorting office which involved a lot of standing and then as a postman carrying a 16kg bag.

As a result of his deceit between April 2009 and January last year he received £23,872.90p he was not entitled to.

When he was questioned he admitted running a marathon, playing recreational cricket and regularly cycling the ten miles between Swindon and Marlborough.

Dixon, of Kitchener Street, Gorse Hill, admitted to dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances.

Rob Ross, defending, said it was clear that his client had suffered physical and mental health issues over a long period of time.

When he first made the application he said it was genuine but after his marriage fell apart he failed to inform the authorities that his condition had improved.

He said he had been suspended from work pending the outcome of the hearing and is likely to be kept on if he is not jailed.

Passing sentence Judge Tim Mousley QC said: “The job may well be the most stabilising factor in your life.”

He imposed a six-month jail term suspended for 18 months and told him to do 200 hours of unpaid work, go on a ‘think first’ programme and be under supervision.

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