FIVE years ago, a man who claimed over £22,000 in Disability Living Allowance appeared in court when pictures of him emerged playing cricket.

Stewart Lorains applied for the benefit in 2008 after being constantly in pain, slow at walking, and needing assistance to wash, go to the toilet, eating and dressing.

However, prosecutor Martin Towers told Teesside Crown Court: "It can be said with certainty that as from May 2009, Mr Lorains was a great deal better than he disclosed.”

According to the Boosbeck cricket club website, Lorains played 41 games between 2009 and 2012, scoring 614 runs at an average of 18 with a highest score of 64 not out.

His barrister, Tamara Pawson, said: "This is not a man who deliberately defrauded the Government to live some kind of elaborate lifestyle. He accepts he exaggerated the extent of his condition to a degree."

Lorains was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, to enable him to care for his wife suffering from arthritis.

Also that week, a disabled woman and her husband won a legal battle against the newly-implemented bedroom tax.

The couple were facing eviction from Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council for under-occupying their three-bedroomed home.

However, the couple argued they needed the extra space to accommodate the woman’s disability.

The woman's husband said: "The tribunal concluded that although we are a couple, my wife's particular circumstances mean that we reasonably require one bedroom each and should therefore be assessed for Housing Benefit on this basis."

Meanwhile, over 100 North Yorkshire schools closed when teachers staged a walk-out as part of a one-day strike over pay, pensions and working conditions.

NASUWT union members from Whitby, Thirsk and Scarborough travelled to a main rally in Sheffield, which saw about 2,000 striking teachers gather in the city centre.

Steve White, regional organiser for Yorkshire and Humberside NASUWT, said: "I would say that the vast majority of our members took part in the industrial action."

He acknowledged that children missed a day’s school but said the scale of the walk-out confirmed the depth of feeling among union members.

And a miniature horse who comforted elderly people with dementia was nominated for an award.

Mr P, from Middleton St George, was nominated for a Daily Mirror Animal Hero Award in the care award category.

A well-know figure in care homes and schools in the region, the 29-inch horse was the perfect therapy horse due to his calm temperament.

Owner Katie Smith said: "When he's in his role as a therapy horse, he's very calm and has a very good effect on people with dementia and other challenging behaviours.”