The familiar face of former town councillor David Strachan can once again be seen in Market Rasen.
The 50-year-old is now free after serving eight-months of a two year jail term imposed last July for his part in a fuel duty tax evasion scheme.
Strachan was found guilty of conspiracy to evade payment but was cleared of conspiracy to cheat revenue. Four others in the gang were also jailed in a case involving fuel and VAT fraud totalling £4.3million.
Released on February 27, his first week of freedom has been “relaxing with family.” “I have daughters and grandchildren in Market Rasen. I have been spending time with them,” he said.
The Rasen Mail caught up with him in the Aston Arms, where over a pint he admitted he suffered “a lot of embarrassment” over the case.
“I have put that all behind me now. I have seen the error of my ways,” he continued.
Strachan spent time in prison at Hull and later at HMP Everthorpe at Brough.
“While I was inside I was a model prisoner, working in the garden. I also did a bit of education in maths, English and IT. It was a redoing of what I have already done.
“When you go in first, you are seen as a naughty boy and you share a cell. When they (the prison authorities) get to know you, you get privileges like a single cell.”
During the trial last year, the popular ex-town councillor received references and letters of support from his former colleagues.
“I had a lot of support from members of the town council. Some of them gladly came to visit,” he said, refusing to reveal who they were.
“They were missing me and my input I used to have on the town council regarding town matters.”
Any suggestion the case shamed the council is totally rejected. “Once the verdict had been given, within two hours my letter of resignation was delivered. I have not pulled the town through the dirt. The case had nothing to do with the town council.”
Indeed, one member last week branded his former colleague “a lovable rogue”, noting many of us like to get one up on the taxman. On hearing this, Strachan chipped up: “I am a lovable rogue.”
Either way, it will be some time before he can join their twice monthly deliberations in Festival Hall. He is barred from public office for five years.
“Obviously, I can’t take an active part in town council but I am looking forward to involved in sub-committee work like any member of the public can be.”
He will also build up his agricultural consultancy business, saying there is “already work in the pipeline”, including voluntary work for the town council. He cites helping De Aston Field and Rasen Mill’s drainage issues.
“I’m not allowed to be a town councillor. It doesn’t mean my commitment to the town has lessened.”
He eyes a return one day, smiling at the suggestion he’d still be young enough to become mayor. As we finished our pints, the “family man” added he was looking forward to spending Friday night cooking and watching Dr Who with his granddaughter.