Sunderland dad falsely claimed £10,000 in benefits while working as Stadium of Light steward

The Stadium of Light
The Stadium of Light

A dad falsely claimed almost £10,000 in disability benefits over a three-year period - during which time he had worked as a matchday steward at the Stadium of Light.

John Milburn, 48, was in receipt of disability living allowance, jobseekers allowance and employment support allowance from 2012.

He had been suffering from problems with arthritis and said he was unable to work.

However, his situation improved as such that he gained a door supervisor licence and began to work as a matchday steward at Sunderland Football Club.

Milburn’s dishonesty was uncovered when it was found that he could walk further than the 10 metres at a time he had told the Department for Work and Pensions.

Prosecutor Jeanette Smith told a hearing at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court: “The total overpayment is £9,700.

“He said he was unable to walk for more than 10 metres due to a problem with his hips.

“But he had his door supervisor’s licence and was a steward at the Stadium of Light.

“To do that job he has to be fit.

“He got his door supervision licence in 2012 and he didn’t start work at Sunderland Football Club until September 2014.

“But there is evidence to say he worked sporadically as a door supervisor.”

Milburn, of Sunningdale Road, in Springwell, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting his entitlement to benefits.

The offences covered a three-year period from January 2012 to April 2015.

Anna Haq, defending, said that her client had suffered from health issues and a relationship problem meant he took on the steward’s job.

“The reason he was entitled to Jobseekers Allowance at the time was that he was suffering from arthritis.

“Since this happened his mental health has been affected quite severely.

“He even struggled to get to court today.”

Ms Haq added: “He accepted casual work at the Stadium of Light and it was only seven hours a fortnight.

“He said he knew the manager and was given the easier jobs.

“His partner at the time, who he had two children with, said if he did not take the job, he would not be able to see the children.

“He does now seek assistance from his GP in relation to his mental health and he is having tests on his liver, so he is a man with a number of health issues.”

Chairman of the bench David Gostling made Milburn, who is now paying the £9,700 overpayment back, the subject of a six-week curfew order while also ordering him to pay £85 in costs.