A fraudster trying to claim £700,000 compensation for severe injuries after falling off a roof was caught on camera walking around an Iceland supermarket.
Liam Jones, 34, insisted he was unable to work, needed help washing and dressing and found it difficult to negotiate stairs because of pain and breathlessness.
The roofer from Bootle, Merseyside, also claimed he was unable to stand by himself, carry a light bag of shopping or bend over – and could only walk with a crutch.
Photographs taken undercover showed 34-year-old Liam Jones walking unaided and shopping at an Iceland supermarket, with meat and poultry tucked under his arm
But that proved to be a lie and investigators caught him walking freely – for five miles on one occasion – and going up and down ladders while he worked as a roofer.
Photographs taken undercover showed Jones walking unaided and shopping at an Iceland supermarket, with meat and poultry tucked under his arm.
In other instances, footage showed he walked with a crutch, but only to and from expert medical appointments.
QBE Business Insurance, representing Jones’s employers, launched a private prosecution against him, after he turned down a cash offer to settle the claim.
After a submission of medical reports, legal proceedings were received which valued the claim for damages at about £700,000.
Footage showed he walked with a crutch, but only to and from expert medical appointments
But the eye-opening footage blew apart his story that the roof fall had left him barely able to walk, and in considerable pain.
In September, Jones was found guilty of attempted fraud, and in October he received a two-year jail sentence.
But it was suspended for two years, meaning Jones walked free from Liverpool Crown Court. Following the collapsed case, Jones received nothing for his claim.
Judge Rachel Smith told him: ‘Your offences are not victimless offences. Fraud causes losses that affect society at large.’
The roofer from Merseyside said he was unable to carry a light bag of shopping or bend over
Mike East, a claims director for QBE Business Insurance, said: ‘Fraud, including exaggerated claims, remain a major issue in our industry and we are pleased with the sentencing of Mr Jones.
‘His prosecution is another in a long line of fraud cases in which our counter fraud team have been alert to fraudulent activity and have tirelessly pursued perpetrators in defence of our customers’ interests.’
Stuart Furniss, a partner for BLM, who acted for QBE, added: ‘This case demonstrates how important it is to take a hard line when faced with a claim tainted by fraud or exaggeration.
‘The sentence should also act as a clear deterrent to those seeking to defraud insurers and their customers and hopefully help to reduce the number of similarly fraudulent claims which continue to drive up premiums for others’.