A Huddersfield man who set up two bogus haulage firms to claim £45,000 in fraudulent VAT repayments has been jailed following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
David Hirst, 53, enlisted the help of Leeds high street bank worker Sharon Mitchell, 53, to submit fake account statements to HMRC that appeared to show that Hirst and accomplice Carl Buttle, 42, had spent thousands on diesel. The trio then reclaimed the VAT ‘paid’ on the non-existent fuel.
But the scam reached the end of the road when an HMRC taskforce, set up to target fraudulent VAT refund claims, turned its attention to C&C International Transport Ltd. Investigators discovered the company had no premises, vehicles or employees.
As part of the investigation, codenamed Operation Akimbo, HMRC contacted fuel suppliers and established that invoices provided by C&C International Transport Ltd were forged. Bank statements submitted in support of a £45,407.51 VAT repayment to sister company Independent Road Transport Ltd were also found to be counterfeit.
The homes of Hirst, Mitchell and Buttle were searched on 16 April 2014. At interview, Hirst admitted the businesses never existed and that the invoices were false. He went on to explain the purpose of the fraud was to claim enough money to set up a genuine haulage business. Buttle denied any knowledge of the plot.
Meanwhile, a forensic examination of Mitchell’s work computer uncovered a number of counterfeit invoices. Investigators also discovered she had used equipment belonging to the bank to produce the forged statements – before sending the documents to HMRC form her work email address.
After pleading guilty to the fraudulent evasion of VAT at an earlier hearing, Hirst was sentenced to 20 months in prison by His Honour Judge Benson at Bradford Crown Court today, 28 August 2015.
Mitchell was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to a charge of false accounting.
Buttle, who also admitted the fraudulent evasion of VAT, was sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work.
It's thirty-five years since Hull Kingston Rovers won their first and only Challenge Cup final in 1980 and it was a memorable day for the whole city. All Hull was let loose that day when Rovers took on the Airlie Birds - the Robins edging it by 10 points to 5.
We've been talking to some of those who were there that day, including the player who scored 9 of the 10 points for Hull KR and a woman who was 7 months pregnant - and her son, who's now all grown up.
This Saturday will be the first time in nearly thirty years that the Robins have stepped onto Wembley's hallowed turf and supporters are certainly getting behind the club's call for them to show their true colours.
As James Webster reports, fans are wearing those colours with pride. Even a few Hull FC fans are putting their cross city rivalry to one side.
Following the Shoreham air crash, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has amended the display permissions for the Dartmouth Royal Regatta so that Lincolnshire's Red Arrows will only be performing flypasts, and not their usual full display.
The Parliamentary Rugby League Group has laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in remembrance of those involved in rugby league who have died while serving their country.
The ceremony was restored to Challenge Cup Final weekend tradition by HM Armed Forces in 2014, and takes place the day before the final. This year’s ceremony drew larger crowds from the rugby league family showing their support to the Armed Services, and was bolstered by hundreds of visitors to the capital.
Conducted by Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and lead by Vice Chief of Defence Staff and President of Great Britain Armed Forces Rugby League, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the ceremony began as Big Ben struck 11 o’clock. Joining GBARFL and Parliamentary Group Chairman Greg Mulholland MP were RFL Chairman Brian Barwick and Denise Edwards of the Royal British Legion. Challenge Cup Finalists Leeds Rhinos and Hull Kingston Rovers were represented by their Chief Executives Gary Hetherington and Mike Smith, and players Jamie Jones Buchanan and Liam Sutcliffe for Leeds and Hull KR’s captain Terry Campese.
A fourth person has been arrested following the crash in Doncaster that left two people dead. Three people were arrested yesterday.
The 18-year-old man, from Doncaster, has been arrested by police this morning (Friday 28 August) on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and remains in custody being questioned.
Two men died following the collision between a car and a house in Poppyfields Way at around 12.50pm on Tuesday 25 August.
A third man remains in a critical condition in hospital.
Three people were arrested by police yesterday (Thursday 27 August) in connection with the collision.
Police in South Wales arrested a 21-year-old man on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
A 15-year-old boy from Doncaster has also been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
A 21-year-old woman from Doncaster was also arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
The three have been bailed while police enquiries continue.
Formal identification of the two men who died has not yet taken place.
The investigation continues and police continue to seek any information about a second vehicle, which is believed to have been involved.
An eighteen-year-old man from Huddersfield has been released on bail as part of an investigation in to hacking by the National Crime Agency. Five other men across the country were also arrested for allegedly using 'Lizard Stresser' - a programme that can take websites offline for up to eight hours at a time.
All six men are suspected of maliciously deploying Lizard Stresser, having bought the tool using alternative payment services such as Bitcoin in a bid to remain anonymous. Organisations believed to have been targeted by the suspects include a leading national newspaper, a school, gaming companies and a number of online retailers.
Police investigating an assault in Roundhay Park on 23 August have released an e-fit of a man they would like to identify in connection with the incident.
Officers were called to the park at about 10.17am on Sunday 23 August to a 29-year-old woman who had been grabbed by a man while walking on a path close to the old swimming pool car park.
She resisted and managed to break free and away from the suspect.
He was described as a 6’4" tall, very dark skinned afro Caribbean male in his 20’s, of medium build with broad shoulders, brown eyes with a yellow tinge to the whites, a flat and big nose with a big top lip and short black hair with the appearance of small tight knots.
The suspect was wearing a dark overhead hooded top with a pocket on the front and a pair of shiny black tracksuit bottoms.
Leeds Bradford Airport says it's expecting its busiest ever weekend over the Bank Holiday with fifty thousand passengers travelling through the terminal.