Eight residents in the dock over £1m fraud

Eight people from the Market Rasen area have appeared at Leeds Crown Court charged with VAT and tax fraud in excess of £1million.

Back in February, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) charged six men and two women after a series of raids as part of an ongoing investigation into illicit fuel use and VAT fraud in Lincolnshire.

The accused appeared at Leeds Crown Court on Friday and had been due to enter a plea. This has now been adjourned until September 20.

Among the accused is Market Rasen town councillor David Strachan.

The others charged are Michael Wilmot, 70, of Low Road, Market Rasen, Charles Trafford, 58, of Osgodby, Derek Blackburn, 58, of Station Road, Moortown, Tracie Morton, 49, of Toft next Newton, Michael Taylor, 37, of Waterloo Street, Market Rasen, John Raithby, 57, of Snitterby Road, Waddingham and Marion Tompkins, of Little Tows, Ludford.

They have all been charged with fraudulently evading excise duty on hydrocarbon oils, using red diesel as fuel for HGVs, evading VAT by obtaining payment of VAT credits, failing to account to the public revenue in respect of tax levied on sales and supplies of goods and services.

The final charge involves failing to declare a true income from self-employment and failing to pay income tax, national insurance and corporation tax.

The early morning raids in June 2012 saw police seize documents, computers and a van equipped with re-fuelling facilities.

Officers found and dismantled equipment suspected of being used to adapt fuel tanks to use illicit red diesel - marked gas oil or a rebated fuel not for use in road vehicles.

HMRC assistant director Peter Hollier said: “HMRC takes the illegal use of red diesel and tax fraud seriously and will not hesitate to investigate those suspected of stealing public funds.”