A man led guided walks in Cumbria and Scotland while claiming benefits for a condition which kept him indoors.

Eric Alistair Wallace received £8,804 to which he was not entitled. He pleaded guilty of failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions about an improvement in his condition which affected his entitlement to disability living allowance.

Peterlee Magistrates Court in County Durham  heard that Mr Wallace, 53, of Waldridge Road, Chester-le-Street,  posted entries on the Berghaus website, detailing guiding a group from Windermere to Kielder in Northumberland, a trip from Whitehaven to Sunderland and a relay race round Ben Nevis.

At the time, he was receiving benefits because he told the DWP he had epilepsy and needed supervision outdoors and while cooking indoors because of frequent seizures. He received the payments between August 1995 and December 2006.

He admitted in an interview under caution that his condition had improved. The defendant, who was unrepresented, said his conduct was due to alcohol problems. He had lost his wife and family because of his drinking.

He said in court: “"Since the DWP interviewed me about this it's given me the shock I needed. For the last 12 months I haven't touched a drink.”

Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order with a requirement to do 150 hours unpaid work. He was ordered to pay costs of £150. In addition, he will have to repay the amount overpaid by the DWP.