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Shropshire

Reference Library – England – Shropshire

Shrewsbury security boss guilty of 59000 VAT fraud

Karl Francis, 59, of Prestbury Green, Shrewsbury, pleaded guilty to six charges of falsely charging VAT, while running KSS Security. The offences took place between May 2011 and October 2014. In total Shrewsbury Crown Court was told that Francis had charged Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury School and The Forestry Commission around 59,700 of VAT, which was not paid to HM Revenue and Customs.

Francis company provided security staff who were responsible for locking up buildings and patrolling. Philip Beardwell, prosecuting, said the matters had come to light after one of Francis employees was found to be working without the right authority. He said: When working at Shrewsbury school the man was approached and they found he was not authorised to have the appropriate licence to be working on site that day and he received a formal police caution for that,

Francis company was responsible for a number of sites including Raven Meadows Car Park, Shrewsbury s park & ride facilities, Shrewsbury Bus Station, and event and evening security at Shrewsbury School.

The court heard that he had been registered for VAT but had de-registered in April 2011. Mr Beardwell said that Francis had continued to invoice the organisations for work, including VAT, but had not paid the appropriate amount to HM Revenue and Customs. The court was told that in a police interview Francis had said that another man had been responsible for the accounts.

However, Mr Beardwell said: Attempts were made to trace him but he was never found. Anthony Scott, mitigating, told Judge Peter Barrie that Francis suffers from respiratory problems and mental health issues. Sentencing Judge Barrie said: I have to deal with you for six counts in relation to three clients from whom your business quite deliberately charged VAT when the business was not registered for VAT so the money collected, which should have been seen as tax, was not accounted for by the revenue and was kept by your business.

Having previously been registered for VAT you must obviously have understood how wrong it was to conduct the business in this way.

The total amount is not far short of 60,000 which is a significant loss to the revenue, accrued over a significant period of time.

However, Judge Barrie said that despite the seriousness of the crime he was not going to send Francis to jail because of his health. He said: Because of ill health it would be disproportionate to impose a sentence of immediate custody. Francis was sentenced to 21 months in prison, suspended for two years.

Security fencing plan to thwart joy-riders at Whitchurch industrial estate

Plans for the fencing at Waymills Industrial Estate in Whitchurch have been given the go-ahead by Shropshire Council. Mr F Worsencroft applied for the fencing because of problems with cars driving around his car park at night. Gary Chesters, writing on behalf of Mr Worsencroft, said: “The reason for the application is to prevent joy riders and trespassers from using the car park in a reckless manner.

“The applicant is having problems with cars driving around his car park at night.

“The applicant has several concerns about this including damage to the car park, liability if anyone gets injured and the time consuming effort it involves for both the landowner and police when damage occurs.

“The applicant’s insurance company also have concerns.

“The applicant owns the adjoining site which does have a security fence and there are no issues .

The new fencing will match the existing fence.”

The security fencing will be put up across the front and a small section at the rear of units 4 and 5.

The front section will be gated and it will be similar to the neighbouring set of units.

Shropshire Council case officer Luke Ashley said: “The proposed scale, design and appearance of the fencing will respect the existing character of the area and will not result in harm in regards to its visual impact or cause any detrimental impact on neighbouring properties.”

POLL: Should UK security services be used as a bargaining chip during EU talks?

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said it was “very important to link trade and security” in the negotiations with the European Union (EU) over the UK’s future deal with the bloc.

Sir Michael said he was proud of the link and insisted the UK would go on “playing our part” in the security of the continent, but stressed some elements of that co-operation would require a new deal. He claimed it was not a “bargaining process” but all sides would be “worse off” if there was not a deal. Leaked minutes of a Cabinet committee meeting revealed the extensive discussions about how the UK’s security and defence expertise could be used to help secure a deal with Brussels. The Sunday Telegraph reported ministers identified the UK’s “very strong hand” on defence as a key advantage in the talks. Downing Street has insisted the reference in Theresa May’s Article 50 notification letter to security, warning that co-operation would be “weakened” if there was not a deal, was not a threat but a simple statement of facts. Sir Michael told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “It’s very important to link trade and security because what we are now looking for is a deep and special partnership that covers both economic and security co-operation . Those two things go together.” He was “absolutely” proud of that link, adding: “It’s very important that we go on committing to the security of the continent.” Asked if failure to secure a deal would make the EU less secure, he said: “We would all be worse-off it there wasn’t a deal .

We are expecting to have a deal. “Obviously, we co-operate with Europe on security, not just through Nato – we co-operate through work our police forces do, our security agencies do, through our judicial systems. “Some of that is inside the European treaties, some of it is outside.

“But obviously the bits that are inside the European treaties we need to make sure that co-operation continues, because Europe faces threats – not just from Russian aggression but, as we have seen in recent weeks, from terrorism as well.” Asked about the Sunday Telegraph report, he said: “I’m not going to get into what happened at what meeting, but it is a fact that we have the biggest defence budget in Europe, we are a leading player inside Nato.” A source quoted in the newspaper said: “I think the absolute view around the table was we are in a very strong position and the Europeans know it.

“We go into these negotiations with security and defence being a big thing in our corner.” In her letter to Mr Tusk, Mrs May had warned: “Europe’s security is more fragile today than at any time since the end of the Cold War. “Weakening our co-operation for the prosperity and protection of our citizens would be a costly mistake.”

Sir Michael refused to be drawn on the details of any “implementation” agreements which could cover trade and the economy after Brexit during the process of shifting to a new deal. Pressed on whether free movement could still be happening and the UK could still be subject to the European Court of Justice at the time of the next election, he said: “No, we have made it clear that we are leaving the European Union, we are leaving the single market, we are leaving the customs union and we will no longer be under the ambit of the European Court of Justice. “It is also clear that we have to avoid a cliff edge.

“We need to give business and the various sectors of our economy the certainty that they need that there won’t suddenly be a huge difference between the day after we leave and the day before.” Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said it was important that any deal should protect national security, but co-operation should not be a bargaining chip. “Not only are they threatening the European Union, they are threatening us,” she told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics.

“Amber Rudd has said that if we don’t get a deal she will stop sharing information with Europol . Are they seriously saying that if they know about a terrorist attack in Paris they won’t tell Europol?” She added: “Either they mean it, or they don’t mean it .

They can’t just keep saying things.”