Former Leeds butcher jailed for £3.3 VAT fraud

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A BUTCHER who stole £3.3m from the taxman to lead a luxury lifestyle after his business collapsed has been jailed today.

Gary Turner, 47, of Grange Park Drive, Churwell, Morley, was yesterday jailed for five years after pleading guilty to defrauding HMRC and VAT.

The father-of-six set up Turners Butchers in 1988, which was based on Dewsbury Road and in local branches of Kwik Save and was famous for their pies and sausage rolls.

But when trade slowed in 1996 he used his business to siphon off taxpayers’ money - by reclaiming VAT on fake invoices and receipts - deceiving both his family and the tax authorities.

Turner spent his criminal cash remodelling a luxury family home as well as buying a bungalow for his son in the same street and treating his extended family to expensive villa holidays.

He owned six high performance cars all with private registration plates, and splashed out on Fender electric guitars costing thousands and had a stash of luxury Rolex watches worth over £35,000.

When he was arrested in April last year, he admitted fraudulently misleading the authorities and described his business affairs from 1996 as “all fake”.

Peter Hollier, HMRC assistant director for criminal investigation said: “Tax fraud is a serious crime. Turner tried to play the system so he could live a life of luxury. He went to a great deal of effort to try to hide his lies but our investigators unravelled what he thought was a water-tight scam.”

Around £785,000 in assets has already been restrained by HMRC and confiscation proceedings are underway to recover Turner’s criminal profits.