Nine months jail term for £194,000 VAT haulage fraudster


The boss of County Tyrone-based Lyons Haulage has been sent to prison for his role in a £194,000 VAT fraud, following an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation into his company.

Mark Lyons, 48, of Crevenagh Road, Omagh, ran the company with his wife, Janet, and between November 2011 and September 2014 they charged customers £194,063.61 in VAT but kept the money.

The HMRC investigation revealed that Mark, who pleaded guilty at a hearing in May 2017 to cheating the public revenue contrary to common law, played a central role in the fraud.

He was sentenced to nine months in prison and nine months on licence, when he appeared at Dungannon Crown Court on 19 September. Janet, 49, admitted the same offence and was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for three years at Dungannon Crown Court in June 2017.

She was also banned from being a company director for five years. She had also pleaded guilty at the hearing in May 2017 to cheating the public revenue contrary to common law.

HMRC Fraud Investigation Service Assistant director Steve Tracey said: “The Lyons’ stole from the taxpayer and thought they could simply pocket the money, which should have been funding vital public services. They were wrong and now are paying the price with a prison sentence and criminal records.

“Most people pay the tax they owe, when they owe it, but a small minority think they are above the law. No matter how well you think you’ve covered your tracks, nobody is beyond our reach.” Confiscation proceedings are underway to recover the stolen tax.

Keltruck: Meet the salesman Russ Barnes, used trucks Newark

Russ Barnes

Russ Barnes hasn’t been at Keltruck Newark for long, but the job of used vehicle sales executive was created specifically for him.

He began work at the site just over two months ago, but had joined the company nine months before in anticipation of the role beginning. In the meanwhile he worked our of the Keltruck West Bromwich site learning the ropes at the company’s flagship site where as many as 100 used trucks are located.

“I’m new to sales, but I’m really excited to speak to our customers and find them a truck that they want. I really enjoy speaking to people and want to go the extra-mile for them.”

Before starting his sales career, Barnes worked for 13 years as a driver. His experiences were wide ranging from jobs working for Asda to driving waste vehicles for Biffa. He’s also run tippers and walking floors. With his driving days now behind him, Barnes is looking forward to the new challenge and is already highly motivated to succeed in his new vocation.

“When I joined they set me the task of 50 sales in a year, but said that no one ever hits that target in their first year. I will do it, though. You’ve got, haven’t you, just because they said I wouldn’t.” 

At the time of speaking to Barnes his tally currently stood at 38 sales, and with the new site now fully open he’s ready to rise to the challenge ahead of him. His first local sale has been to Briggs Metal and with some exciting stock due to reach the forecourt in the coming weeks he’s quietly confident of achieving the target.

Barnes is actively marketing Newark’s used stock on social media not only through the company’s accounts but via his own social media channels. He believes his time as a driver will not only provide him with plenty of interested clients but allow him to really help the owner-driver and small fleet customers in his new patch.