A benefit cheat who told officials he could only walk 250 metres was exposed after he boasted on Facebook that he was taking part in a 26 mile sponsored walk.

Cameron Cowan (42) “neglected” to tell the Department of Work and Pensions that there had been a significant improvement in his condition, Stirling Sheriff Court was told today (Wednesday 29 April).

On 20 April 2013 he posted: “Good Luck for the mora guys, Colin McInnes, Mark Duncan, Alan Ritchie and Mark Watson joined (very slowly) by myself doing a 26.2 mile Kiltwalk for Childrens Charities.” The next day he posted: “Halfway in the kilt walk, just 13 mile to go”, before posting a shaky picture of the 23 mile marker sign and finally “Wow ...... noo all us kilted walkers hav admitted to sore legs, sore feet n blisters......well lm gonna be the first to admit to chafing of the left yak....oh my days, just jumped in bath n came oot twice as fast.” Lindsey Brooks, prosecuting, said that Cowan had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in his feet, ankles and knees.

He had claimed Disability Living Allowance that had a general element and a “mobility” element.

Mrs Brooks said: “He said he was only able to walk 250 metres, and it would take him two minutes on a good day but 15 to 20 minutes on a bad day.” The court heard that between May 2011 and October 2013, Cowan received £9490 in Disability Living Allowance, of which £7594 related to supporting his mobility.

But officials received a tip-off that Cowan, who worked in a Royal Mail sorting office, regularly performed tasks which he had claimed caused him difficulty - without care, supervision and assistance.

Mrs Brooks said: “Surveillance was carried out.

“It was noted that he had posted on his Facebook page that he had said he was going to take part in a 26 mile charity walk.

“He was interviewed and he said he had only done five miles of it, but he admitted he had been able to walk without difficulty since about two years earlier.

“He had failed to declare this improvement in his ability.” Cowan, of St Ninians, Stirling, pleaded guilty to obtaining benefit to which he was not entitled.

Stephen Maguire, defending, said: “There was an improvement in his condition that he was obliged to report, and he didn’t.” The solicitor added that Cowan’s condition had since worsened again, but he would be capable of doing “light work” if sentenced to community service rather than prison.

Mr Maguire said: “He has taken ill-health retirement because of medical issues.” Sheriff William Gilchrist sentenced Cowan, a first offender, to 240 hours of unpaid work, as part of a Community Payback Order.

He said: “The level of benefit you obtained to which you were not entitled is such that the court is obliged to consider a custodial sentence, and I have considered such a sentence, but I take account of your age and the fact that you are a first offender and I will impose the alternative, which is unpaid work.

“If you don’t, for whatever reason, complete this you will come back to court and be sentenced anew.”