Shropshire Star

Bridgnorth man avoids jail after scamming HMRC out of £270,000 in VAT fraud

A businessman who defrauded HM Revenue & Customs out of more than £270,000 of VAT repayments and then forged documents to cover his tracks has been spared jail.

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Shrewsbury Crown Court

John Charles Durston of Chetton near Bridgnorth had admitted making 72 false VAT repayment claims from HMRC between April 1, 2019 and July 31, 2019 when he appeared at Shrewsbury Crown Court on Thursday.

The 57-year-old also admitted three counts of using false instruments with intent, after he forged documents to cover his fraudulent activities.

The court heard that Durston had set up a business called Tomkins Distribution purely to make VAT claims from HMRC.

Prosecutor Robert Tolworth KC argued that Durston's fraudulent actives were "sustained" and involved "significant planning".

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