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Man 'running while signed off work'

A sprinter took part in national athletics competitions and was paid to coach youngsters while off work with a bad back, a court has heard.

Matthew Thomas, 34, was signed off his job as a payroll officer for Newham Council after telling bosses he had fallen from a ladder and injured his back, a jury at Inner London Crown Court was told.

Prosecutors said he received £13,892.12 in pay while off sick for seven months from November 2007 until he resigned in June 2008.

But Thomas, from East Ham, east London, raced in the Birmingham Athletic Games in February 2008 and the Surrey County Indoor Championships in March 2008, the court heard.

He also led regular 90-minute coaching sessions for Met-Track - an athletics scheme set up by the Metropolitan Police - throughout the period, jurors were told.

Rebecca Channon, prosecuting, said the case showed "two sides" of Thomas, who had worked for the council since 1998.

She said he submitted sickness certificates claiming he was unfit to work while at the same time carrying out other activities.

"This case is about fraud and dishonesty," she said. "Plainly he was carrying on quite an active life outside his employment at the London Borough of Newham whilst being off sick."

Thomas denies one count of fraud by failing to disclose information about his work for the Met-Track scheme and 10 counts of fraud by false representation due to the sickness certificates he submitted.


From Belfast Telegraph