An alleged benefits cheat who said she could not walk without help ran 10,000 metres dressed as Santa, a trial has heard.
Beverley Dott confessed she had completed the Perth Santa run after being told investigators had been covertly filming her.
Dott, of Abbey Road, Scone, had been claiming the highest level of mobility benefits after telling the Department of Work and Pensions she had severely limited movement.
After investigators told her she had been reported and monitored, she admitted she had been regularly running 5k in around 30 minutes.
During interview, she said: “I generally go every other day, but other periods I’ve managed to go two or three days in a row.
“It just depends on how my legs are feeling and whether I’m tired or not. I tend to stick to around 5k. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes less.
“I’ve done the Perth Santa run twice which is just 5k. I did the Couch to 5K app. I had never done running before.”
Solicitor Cliff Culley, representing her at the DWP interview, asked: “Are you running like Mo Farah?”
Dott replied: “I’m not the fastest person on earth. I’m not racing anybody. I take 30 to 35 minutes normally.”
She said she “put on a brave face” but admitted she had been filmed walking the 1.1 kilometre round trip to school twice a day without apparent difficulty.
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.
She also said she could barely walk outside without the support of her husband, but an investigation was launched after the benefits agency received an anonymous tip-off about Dott’s regular 5k runs.
Investigation leader Fiona Aitken told the trial: “She had been seen walking on a regular basis and was undertaking 5k runs. The information was sent from an anonymous source.”
Mrs Aitken told the court that Dott’s original claim forms – from shortly after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November 2008 – were recovered and studied.
Mrs Aitken said an undercover team went out and filmed Dott on four separate occasions during the first few months of 2017.
She said the DWP did not dispute Dott’s medical condition but believed the effect it had upon her was less than she had been claiming.
The court heard Dott had claimed £13,213.25 between July 2 2014 and September 12 2017, the figure she is accused of fraudulently obtaining by failing to notify the DWP of a change in her condition.
She denies the charge. The trial before Sheriff Keith O’Mahoney continues.