Haulage director spared jail after tax fraud

HMRC

The director of a Hampshire haulage firm has been sentenced to 12 months in prison after he attempted to defraud the taxpayer out of almost £40,000.

Trevor Oakley, 63, submitted a VAT repayment claim to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for the purchase of two lorries using fake invoices that totalled 37,598.

Oakley was a director of Oakley Logistics, a freight transport company based in Marchwood, near Southampton.

In July 2018, HMRC contacted the director and requested more information to support the claim and Oakley emailed a fake hire purchase agreement.

Later that month, an HMRC officer visited Oakley and was told the lorries were already on the road in Scotland and could not be shown to him.

HMRC said he did not have any DVLA documents.

He was interviewed under caution the following month and later pleaded not guilty to the charge of fraudulent submission of a VAT repayment claim and two counts of making, adapting, supplying or offering to supply an article for use in fraud.

After a three-day hearing in Southampton Crown Court he was found guilty by a jury and was sentenced to 12 months, suspended for two years.

He was also given 200 hours of unpaid work, disqualified as a director for three years and issued with court costs of £1,000.

Zoe Ellerbeck, assistant director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: “HMRC will pursue criminals who attack the tax system.”

Actros Edition 1 tried out at Mercedes-Benz first TruckChallenger event

Mercedes-Benz Actros edition 1

The Mercedes-Benz Actros Edition 1 with mirrorless cameras has made its UK debut at the manufacturer’s first TruckChallenger event in South Yorkshire. Based on the fifth generation of Actros, the new Edition 1 is a continuation of the Actros1 special edition range launched last year with a total of 400 Actros Edition 1 tractor units being produced worldwide and just 35 being allocated to the UK.

Revealed at Mercedes-Benz Trucks Experience & Operations Centre in Barnsley, drivers were shown an Actros 2563 Edition 1 6x4 with its high specification GigaSpace High Roof sleeper cab.

The Edition 1 model, which Mercedes says adds “special features geared to the driver” is also fitted with the Safety Package and Active Brake Assist 5. As well as the Driving Package which includes a leather steering wheel, and the Comfort Package which adds ambient lighting, shaving mirror and a fridge the Edition 1 also gets Predictive Powertrain Control and the Multimedia Cockpit.

Stainless steel steps lead into the cab which has leather door handles with contrasting topstitching while the rest of the interior is trimmed with black leather. Brushed aluminium Edition 1 plaques are present on the passenger-side dash and floor mats too.

External cues that make this variant stand out from the rest of the Actros range include the Edition 1 logo printed onto the external sun visor, which has four built-in additional LED main-beam headlamps. The grey and black paint scheme is also an Edition 1 exclusive.

The 30 drivers invited to TruckChallenger were able to experience the Actros Edition 1s MirrorCam system during the Agility Challenge, before heading out around the sites’ 70-acres of road to test its efficiency during an Eco Challenge.

Driver-trainer for Lineage UK Transport Chris Broughton who was the victor after completing all the challenges, looked ahead to the delivery of his new, standard Actros 5: “We have some new Actros on order and I was looking forward to trying the MirrorCam system. It’s very different and will take a little bit of getting used to, but I was impressed with the technology.”

Mercedes-Benz Trucks has revealed that since the event, all 35 of the Actros Edition 1s have been sold and that deliveries of the model started this month.

The first example is on the road with family-owned haulier Arthur Spriggs & Son, whose truck was supplied through Marshall Truck & Van.

Opting for the 625hp 2563LS GigaSpace cab for its Actros Edition 1, the limited edition truck joins the company’s fleet of 60 other Mercedes-Benz and FUSO trucks.

Andy Quinn, the firm’s driver tasked with piloting the Edition 1, said: “Everything about this truck is state-of-the-art. MirrorCam is a real step forward in terms of safety, not least because it eliminates a major blind spot, while my seat and bunk are unbelievably comfortable. I love the way it looks too.”