1. ITV Report

Carlisle man jailed for £284,000 VAT and benefit fraud

Keiran Farrer, 39 Photo: Cumbria Police

A Carlisle man who committed a £284,000 VAT and benefit fraud has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Keiran Farrer filed 34 monthly VAT returns in which he claimed to have paid invoices for £2 million worth of supplies.

Farrer, 39, had registered a vehicle hire and leasing company - but this was said to have "barely traded".

He reclaimed £260,000 from the taxman and was paid £243,000. But a probe revealed that his returns were bogus.

Carlisle Crown Court also heard Farrer made false statements to the Department for Work and Pensions which allowed him to rake in disability living allowance totalling £41,000.

He claimed to suffer from "severe" mental health and mobility difficulties which meant he regularly needed to use a wheelchair and also specialist transport.

But investigators' video footage showed him walking unaided on several occasions, and pushing a supermarket trolley.

The court heard the fraudster splashed out more than £50,000 of his ill-gotten tax return cash on flying lessons, and was said to have lived a "lavish lifestyle" comprising "expensive holidays for the family".

Farrer, of Whinsmoor Drive, Carlisle, was sentenced at the city's crown court today, Friday 16 February.

He had admitted three offences - one count of VAT fraud, between 2013 and 2016; and two counts of making false statements to the DWP.

Judge Peter Hughes QC told Farrer - a married father with 100 previous crimes to his name - he had an "appalling" record for dishonesty.