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Ex-policeman in £365m scam

A former police officer who admitted his part in a £365m VAT fraud has been jailed for 10 years.

Nigel Cranswick, 47, was a director of Ideas 2 Go, and, despite its modest base in a Sheffield business park, he claimed it bought and sold £2bn worth of goods in just eight months. He has since admitted that the firm's trading, largely in mobile phones and computer software, was fictitious, and the aim was to generate paperwork from fake sales in order to claim back a fortune in VAT. Judge Brian Forster, sitting at Newcastle Crown Court, said: "The prosecution rightly described the case as an unprecedented attack on the Revenue. The case has taken 25 man-years to investigate."

The former South Yorkshire police officer was recruited by others to play a role in a carousel fraud, which involves importing goods from other EU states which are then sold through contrived business-to-business transactions. Cranswick, from Kiveton in Sheffield, admitted conspiracy to cheat HMRC at a hearing last month.