Skip to main content

Seven sentenced in caravan VAT fraud

Press Release   •   Nov 05, 2013 13:59 GMT

Seven gang members have been jailed after they failed in their bid to steal over £250,000 from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in a VAT fraud.

Career criminal Michael Davies, from Staffordshire, led the attempt to claim almost £257,000 in VAT repayments by inventing bogus sales of caravan parts and accessories, but investigations by HMRC and North Yorkshire Police quashed the conspiracy.

Gary Lampon, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said:

“Davies and his gang members operated a network of companies that supposedly traded internationally in large quantities of caravan parts and accessories. They deceitfully created false paperwork showing the goods had been sold in the UK through their string of companies, adding VAT on each transaction. They then tried to claim back the VAT that hadn’t been paid in the first place, when the non-existent goods were exported.”

“I would urge anyone who has information about those involved in this type of activity to call the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

HMRC investigators joined forces with several police forces to investigate this gang and their financial crimes. In court they were sentenced for a combination of the HMRC VAT fraud and separate money laundering offences found in the police case.

The gang operated four companies including Lazydays RV Motorhomes in Market Drayton, Shropshire, and three companies set up purely to carry out the fraud and money laundering activities – Lorcan Steels in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Capital Consulting UK Ltd in Marple, Stockport and Sky Incentives Ltd in Altrincham, Cheshire.

Notes to Editors

1.  Details of sentencing at Leeds Crown Court:

·  Michael Ian Davies (DOB 20.01.65) of De Havilland Drive, Yarnfield, Stone, Staffordshire, was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment on 4 November 2013 – comprising of 13 months jail for the VAT offences and two months for the money laundering. He was also disqualified from holding a company directorship for two and a half years. He pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Cheat the Revenue and Money Laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Davies has recently served a three year jail term for a similar fraud. Further details available from the HMRC Press Office.

·  Paul Andrew Edwards (DOB 14.06.83) of Wenlock Close, Newcastle-under-Lyme, was sentenced to three years and three months on 8 August 2013 and was disqualified from holding a company directorship for eight years. He pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Cheat the Revenue and Money Laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

·  Paul Shaun Tinsley (DOB 07.11.75) of Railway Street, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, was sentenced to two years and two months on 8 August 2013 and was disqualified from holding a company directorship for five years. He pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Cheat the Revenue and Money Laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

·  Robert Abel Cann (DOB 05.03.43) of Dunham Rise, Altrincham, Cheshire, was sentenced to 15 months in prison on 8 August 2013 and was disqualified from holding a company directorship for six years. He pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Cheat the Revenue and Money Laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

·  Lester John Stacey (DOB 11.04.64), of The Oaks, Green Lane, Eccleshall, Stafford, Staffordshire, was sentenced to a 12 months community work order on 4 November 2013. He pleaded guilty to recklessly signing the VAT Return under the VAT Act 1994.

·  Thomas Joseph Corridan (DOB  29.03.62), of Casa Ruiz, Estrada Vale Judeau, Loule, Portugal 8100-333 and Glendower Lodge, Mill Hill, London, was sentenced to 12 months jail for the money laundering offences. He pleaded guilty to Money Laundering offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Corridan was acquitted of the VAT offences.

·  Thomas Cottam, (DOB 09.08.58) of Warren Drive, Deganwy, Conwyn, Gwynedd, Wales, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and was disqualified from holding a company directorship for five years on 8 August 2013. He pleaded guilty to Money Laundering offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Cottam was not charged with VAT offences.

·  Michael William Bostock (DOB 17.05.74) currently of HM Prison Service and of The Courtyard, Smallwood, Cheshire, was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment on 4 November 2013 for money laundering while further VAT offences will lie on file. He was also disqualified from acting as a company director for five years. He pleaded guilty to Money Laundering offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Bostock is currently serving a five year jail term for a similar fraud. Further details available from the HMRC Press Office.

2.  Details of the associated money laundering offences: in April 2010 the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) contacted the police regarding the misappropriation of payments totalling £1,280,014.72 which were intended for a legitimate IT company based in Cannock. DEFRA discovered that the destination bank and bank account details had been deliberately altered and that payments had been diverted from the intended destination to a bank account in the name ‘Lorcan Steels’. This was the same company under investigation by HMRC for VAT fraud and the agencies joined forces to track the financial activities of the organised crime gang led by Bostock. The gang were arrested in a joint operation in May and August 2010. For further details of the money laundering offences see the North Yorkshire Police release at  http://www.northyorkshire.police.uk/12399

3.  Photographs available on HMRC’s Flickr channel www.flickr.com/hmrcgovuk

4.  Follow us on Twitter @hmrcgovuk


Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.

HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.