A woman repeatedly ran 5km races dressed as Santa after telling the benefits agency she could barely walk, a fraud trial has heard.
Investigators revealed they carried out covert surveillance on Beverley Dott that showed her physical ability was far better than she had claimed.
Dott, 51, of Abbey Road, Scone, was being paid the highest rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) after telling the (DWP) she could not walk without support or a stick.
But after investigators told her they had been secretly filming her, Dott admitted she had completed the 5km Perth Santa run on at least two occasions.
Perth Sheriff Court was told she is now running 5km several times a week.
DLA decision maker John Breen told the trial: “DLA is not based on medical condition, but on the claimant’s needs.
“This benefit is for people who are so severely disabled that they require assistance from someone else. These are the needs she claimed to have.
“The person seen on the video evidence is living a very different life to this. We accepted in 2009 the evidence that she had walking difficulties.
“The filmed evidence is so completely different from her self-penned pictures there’s no doubt there has been a massive improvement in her capability.”
He told the court that when Mrs Dott was brought in for questioning, she admitted she had taken up running in 2014 after completing a “couch to 5k” programme.
Mrs Dott, who suffers from MS, said she had taken up running after an operation left her feeling “rubbish all the time.”
She said: “It took a long time to get to the stage you are seeing.
“I got to the position where I thought I could start running again.
“I generally go every other day, but there are times when I manage to go two or three days in a row.
“It depends how I’m feeling, but it’s usually 5k,” she told fraud investigator leader Fiona Aitken during interview.
“I’m not the fastest person on Earth. I’m not racing anybody. I take 30 to 35 minutes normally.”
Perth Sheriff Court was told that in her original claim form she had described how she struggled to walk more than 100 metres without breaks.
Mrs Aitken told the court that Dott’s original claim forms, from shortly after she was diagnosed with MS in November 2008, were recovered and studied.
“When I’m out I rely on a children’s pram for support or I have to hold on to my husband’s arm,” she said.
“I stumble frequently, because of my poor balance.”
Mrs Aitken said an undercover team filmed Dott on four separate occasions during the first few months of 2017.
Mrs Aitken told the court that Dott had claimed £13,213 between July 2 2014 and September 12 2017.
That is the figure she is accused of fraudulently obtaining by failing to notify the DWP of a change in her condition. She denies the charge and the trial before Sheriff Keith O’Mahoney continues.