UPDATE: Convicted benefit cheat pocketed over £29,000
A former Croydon Council election candidate found guilty of benefit fraud illegally pocketed over £29,000 it has been confirmed.
Graham Axford of Belgrave Road, South Norwood, denied six counts of fraud by false representation in relation to housing and council tax benefits paid by Croydon Council between September 2000 and July 2011, but was found guilty on three counts on Tuesday.
The 58-year-old hit headlines two years ago after he appeared on an episode of BBC Panorama.
Axford has been in receipt of incapacity benefit after injuring his back in a motorcycle accident in 1995, but an investigation was launched after he was caught sailing his private yacht across the Atlantic Ocean.
The episode which aired in November 2011, showed footage Axford had taken of himself as he tackled dangerous waters sailing 43ft Crumpet Too from America to the Azores.
After he appeared on national television, the Croydon Guardian revealed he had also participated in a national bike race lasting 24 hours.
He has never faced charges over his receipt of incapacity benefit.
Croydon Crown Court heard Axford failed to declare he owned a home in Abertillery, Wales, and part owned a farmhouse in Normandy, France.
He denied he owned the property in Wales, telling the court he had gifted it to his wife, who paid the mortgage on the property.
Axford received a housing benefit overpayment of £24,329.66 and a council tax benefit overpayment of £5,126.89, totally £29,456.55.
Councillor Dudley Mead, deputy leader of the council, said: "As this case illustrates, those who try to hoodwink the benefits system and cheat honest taxpayers will not get away with it.
"Residents can be assured the council's fraud investigators will not hesitate to catch these people and take them to court."
Axford will be sentenced on March 14.