Quirky World: Golfer ends up in the rough after €36k disability fraud

Alan Bannister: Golfer wasjailed for benefit fraud.

BRITAIN: A man who pocketed £26,000 (€36,000) in disability benefits while winning golf tournaments and playing off a handicap of six has been jailed for six months.

Alan Bannister, 56, exaggerated the severity of his arthritis for eight years and was given a top-rate payment usually reserved for people who cannot walk.

The former mechanical engineer insisted he could not hold a saucepan or peel potatoes, struggled to dress himself and took 15 minutes to walk as little as 50 metres.

He made the claims in a successful application for increased benefits after he quit his job on health grounds and saw his income halved.

Bannister received the top rate benefits for nine years and was also handed a mobility car which he used to drive to golf tournaments, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Footage emerged of him lifting a bag of clubs with one hand before launching a 240-yard drive from the first first tee, approaching the 18th hole four hours later.

Jailing Bannister, Recorder David Miller described his actions as a “blatant” fraud which lasted eight years.

Gator hazard


Golfers at a course in Florida were careful to putt around a large alligator, days after the beast was photographed lounging on the edge of the green in an image that went viral on Facebook.

A women’s tournament went on as planned at the Myakka Pines Golf Club on Florida’s west coast, as the gator, estimated at 12 to 13ft long, reposed in full view of about 100 participants, said Mickie Zada, the club’s general manager. “If we stopped playing because of alligators, we’d never have golfers,” Zada said.

A 15-footer nicknamed “Big George” hung around for years until his death, Zada said.

Despite nearly daily alligator sightings at the course, none have attacked a person in the club’s 37 years.

Déjà shoe


A convict who had just completed a 15-year prison sentence for robbery has admitted robbing the same shoe shop again.

Prosecutors said Christopher Miller, 41, raided the Stride Rite store in Toms River, New Jersey, a day after he was released from prison in March last year.

Miller escaped with $390 and the employees’ mobile phones, but the shop assistant had been notified about his release and identified the suspect as the same person who had robbed the store in 1999.Miller pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and faces another 10 to 20 years in prison.

Mad week


For one week this month, New Yorkers can get a taste of Don Draper’s world.

Mad Men Dining Week will take place from March 23, with 34 top New York City restaurants offering 1960s-inspired lunches in celebration of the last season of the award-winning Mad Men television drama.

For €19.69, diners will be able to choose from a two-course menu of appetiser and entree or entree and dessert, but there is also a “liquid lunch” option — no food, unless you count the martini olive.

Bless this shake


The Vatican has given its blessing to a shortbread milkshake, created in honour of the Pope’s upcoming visit to Philadelphia.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Vatican department that organises the world meetings, picked the winning flavour from three choices at Potbelly Sandwich Shop in the city.

Part of the proceeds from sales of the PopeinPhilly shake — a blend of vanilla ice cream and shortbread — will go towards the planning of a world gathering of Catholic families and a visit by the Pope in Philadelphia in September.


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