Posted by: westlancashirerecord | April 23, 2017

Reporting Tax Cheats

Just a few days after the Champion  [click to read] produced its report on a hotline for reporting tax cheats, we know that a local shop owner faces jail after admitting a VAT fraud estimated at £274,000. David Leatherbarrow, who runs Aughton Food Stores  appeared at Liverpool Crown Court and pleaded guilty to fraud by failing to register Sales UK Ltd, trading as Aughton Food Stores, for VAT between July 31, 2012 and March 31, 2015. Judge Andrew Menary QC remanded Leatherbarrow on unconditional bail. He said “It is a serious offence which often carries a sentence of imprisonment, but all options will be considered by the court between now and that day”.

But are there double standards being applied in some of these VAT fraud cases? What about the local case involving a company director with a contract for development of the WLBC owned Beacon Park Golf Course by landfill? ARTICLE NO: 3B CORPORATE & ENVIRONMENTAL OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE MEMBERS UPDATE 2012/13 ISSUE: 4 Article of: Assistant Director Community Services. Relevant Portfolio Holder: Councillor D Sudworth Contact for further information: Mr John Nelson.

To update Members of the progress towards finalising an agreement of the management of the Beacon Park Golf Course. DCT Leisure gave notice and relinquished their lease for the management of Beacon Park Golf Course on 31st December 2011. Following reports to Cabinet (15th November 2011) and Council (14th December 2011) interim arrangements were put in place with West Lancashire Community Leisure Trust and the trust partners Serco Leisure Operating Limited to undertake temporary arrangement for the management of the golf course. Delegation was approved by Cabinet and Council for the Assistant Director Community Services, in consultation with the Leader and relevant portfolio holder, to enter into and conclude all arrangements for the long-term management arrangements for the golf course.

The arrangements previously negotiated by DCT for the land drainage work with Oaklands leisure [Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd] provided an opportunity to improve facilities, retain or increase future membership and increase income. Serco have now concluded their discussions with Oaklands Leisure [Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd] and have been able to project a positive financial position in future years. However the initial years of the improvement works will require Serco to cover operating losses. The proposal includes investment into the golf course and facilities, reshaping of the landform to enhance existing golf holes and practice facilities and create a new 9 hole short course. Remodelled driving range outfield and target greens. Provision to enhance internal facilities in the golf club house and entrance area. The work is to be phased in over two years 2013-15 and has an estimated investment/enhancement value for the golf course of approximately £500,000. There are no background documents (as defined in Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) to this Article.

As we’ve disclosed before, in 2009 Oakland Golf & Leisure Ltd had, and still has, as a shareholder and director Jonathan Russell Snellgrove, director ID 901973674, whose company activities were reported at https://westlancashirerecord.com/2016/03/16/golf-course-development-company-director-owed-100000-vat/

Notwithstanding the loss to we national taxpayers of the £100,000 VAT, the golf course is a WLBC taxpayers’ asset, the landfill dumping has created huge balances for Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd rather than for we council tax payers, and all with the knowledge of the directorship revealed over a year ago.

The Aughton shopkeeper faces the consideration and possibility of imprisonment. If he had dissolved his company would he now be in the clear and free to start another company? WLBC accepted the Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd company with impunity because it was endorsed by Serco. Look back at what WLBC published above including “Serco have now concluded their discussions with Oaklands Leisure [Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd] and have been able to project a positive financial position in future years”. How was it that the discussions don’t mention due diligence of the people involved?


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