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Gotcha: council takes action up after fraudster’s costly slip

22 June 2017

Councillor Allen Brett, Rochdale Borough Council cabinet member for corporate and resources.

A ‘fundamentally dishonest’ Heywood resident slipped up in more ways than one after making a fraudulent claim against Rochdale Borough Council following a night of drinking.

Geoffrey Triggs brought the claim against the council after falsely claiming he had fallen backwards over faulty paving while walking home injuring his head, neck and back.

The council’s eagle-eyed legal and insurance team spotted a number of discrepancies in the story, rejected his account and robustly defended the council’s position in court.

The claimant’s case quickly unravelled in the dock as the judge was left baffled by the account of his injuries following cross-examination from the council’s barrister.

It also revealed that the claimant had sought a 14-week care and assistance programme, although it emerged that part of that period included a holiday in Rhodes.

A final damning verdict was reached after the court heard the claimant had sought a free gym pass from his GP. The judge simply remarked: “There are not many pieces of equipment in a gym which are less onerous than operating a vacuum cleaner.”

After siding with the council, and throwing out the false claim, the judge ruled that the claimant had made a claim of ‘fundamental dishonesty’.

'In a sobering thought for other potential fraudsters, the claimant was left with a legal bill for thousands of pounds.'

Councillor Allen Brett, cabinet member for corporate and resources, said: “The council takes a zero tolerance approach to fraudulent claims and we won’t think twice about taking a false claimant to court. This case should be a lesson to others planning to make a quick buck out of hard pressed council coffers. I would simply say, don’t waste your time, we will find against you and it will end up costing you money.

“I would like to thank council staff for their diligence and hard work in getting this matter to court. They helped to secure a positive outcome for local taxpayers who quite rightly don’t want public money going to fraudulent opportunists like this.”

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