A former policeman has been jailed for ten years and three months for his part in an attempted £330 million VAT fraud—the largest of its kind in the UK.
Nigel Cranswick (47), went from rags to riches as the head of a gang which claimed to have sold six million mobile phones and had a turnover of more than £2.4 billion in just eight months.
Operating from a base at Dinnington’s Evans Business Park, Cranswick—the singer in a band called Not The Police—was actually heavily in debt but quit his job as a serving policeman and began splashing out on extravagant purchases.
Cranswick, of Danby Close, Kiveton Park, and his accomplices—including Darren Smyth (42) from Maltby and Andrew Marsh (31), from Wales—were locked up this week after being snared by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Cranswick was charged with conspiracy to cheat the public revenue and sentenced to ten years and three months, while Thomas Murphy (26), then of
Dinnington but now of Sycamore Avenue, Creswell, admitted the same charge and was sentenced to four and a half years.
Company secretary Smyth, of Beech Road, Maltby, was jailed for three years and four months for the same charge, while his Marsh, of Wales Hall Farm, Church Street, was sentence to two years and eight months after succeeding him in the role.
Reid, the company’s administrator, pleaded guilty to two charges of false accounting and was sentenced to nine months in jail, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work in the community.
The final member of the gang was ex-railwayman Brian Olive, of Buttermere Close, Carcroft, Doncaster, who was company director in 2006 and was jailed for three years and four months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to cheat the public revenue.
HMRC’s assistant director for criminal investigation, Paul Rooney, said Cranswick now had “to pay a very high price for his poor judgement and lack of integrity.”