Milan (Italy), Jan 13 : A "blind man" in Italy who has collected a small fortune in disability pay was caught driving a car by police.

The 69-year-old from the town of Novara northwest of Milan has been registered since 1994 as "completely blind", allowing him to collect 160,000 euros for his handicap from the Italian government, police said Thursday.

Police say the alleged fake invalid would drive his mini-car to the supermarket, while he'd use his bicycle during the warmer months of the year.

The suspected scammer was busted after police conducted a check and discovered that the man had a valid driving license.

Italy's National Security Institute, Inps, pays out tens-of-millions of euros in false handicap claims every year. Around 4 percent of Naples is registered as invalid, while a man in Rome registered as a paraplegic and received 500 a month was caught running a marathon, according to the Italian Federation of Autonomous Health Workers, a trade group.


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