A WIRRAL man was given a suspended jail sentence after he falsely claimed he had been injured after tripping on a paving stone.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Steven John Atkin, of Old Chester Road, Rock Ferry, had brought a claim for compensation against Wirral Council.

But investigations showed the injuries could not have been caused by the paving stone as he had claimed, as it was not defective at the time of the alleged accident.

Although Atkin's solicitors subsequently withdrew the claim, the council and its insurers Zurich referred the matter to the police.

The force’s own investigations ended in the prosecution for attempted fraud.

Atkin, who has previous convictions, was given a nine-month sentence suspended for two years.

Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said: "We welcome this conviction and the subsequent sentence, which should be a deterrent to any person thinking of making such a claim.

“Wirral Council has a responsibility to protect public money and will not fail to investigate every claim made against it and seek the prosecution of any person suspected of making a dishonest claim for compensation.”

Scott Clayton, claims fraud investigations manager with Zurich, said: “Fraudulent claims add a substantial cost to everyone's insurance premiums.

“Therefore we owe it to our customers to ensure we only pay for genuine claims.

“Mr Atkin's original claim for injuries sustained when he allegedly tripped over a paving stone was an attempt to secure a large sum of money from Wirral Council for his personal benefit.

“Three years after his original claim, he has been successfully prosecuted and handed a suspended prison sentence.

“This is an extremely positive outcome, not just for the local authority but for the tax-paying public who pay higher insurance premiums due to the costs associated with this unlawful activity.”