Lifeboat hero was falsely claiming disability benefits

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The Independent Online

A member of a lifeboat crew who was honoured for his bravery during a heroic rescue was falsely claiming disability benefits at the time, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) confirmed.

Mason Bentley, 34, was presented with a national RNLI award in 2008 for helping to rescue a swimmer under atrocious conditions while serving with the Flamborough Lifeboat, in East Yorkshire, the year before.

He was one of a three-man crew who plucked the man to safety from 26ft waves in the North Sea, off Flamborough Head. The crew was presented with the Walter and Elizabeth Groombridge Award, which is given annually to a lifeboat crew for especially meritorious service.

But magistrates heard last week that Bentley, who was also known as Alistair Docherty, was claiming a level of disability allowance meant for those whose problems affect their day-to-day living.

The DWP confirmed that Bentley, of Pickering, North Yorkshire, admitted failing to notify a change of circumstances affecting his entitlement.

He was given a six-month curfew order and told to pay £70 costs. He was also ordered to repay £9,942.40 of falsely claimed benefits.