A LANCASHIRE truck driver has been jailed after being caught for the fourth time smuggling beer from France into the UK in a £131,000 fraud.
In a case bought by HMRC, Manchester Crown Court heard that Simon O’Hare from Preston had been stopped on four occasions in London, Cambridge and Yorkshire as he was delivering his goods.
O’Hare would drive his empty lorry to France and return with pallets of beer which, on paper, were destined for a warehouse in Essex. But instead of taking the cargo to its specified destination, the truck driver delivered the pallets to various wholesalers around the country in order to evade UK excise duty.
HMRC also found evidence that he had attempted to change vehicle registration numbers and appearance in order to avoid detection.
His evasive actions didn’t work and O’Hare was caught repeatedly, yet he still continued to lie about where the beer came from despite warnings that he would be prosecuted
O’Hare subsequently pleaded guilty to four counts under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 and was jailed for eight months on each count. The sentences will run concurrently.