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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.”

Lynx shower gel bottles slapped with security tags at Co-op to ward off desperate shoplifters

Lynx shower gel bottles have been slapped with security tags at a supermarket after a spate of thefts. The Co-op has taken action to tackle shoplifters thieving the 2.89 grooming product off the shelves at a branch in Stobswell, Dundee. Electronic devices have also been applied to jars of coffee and other low value items in a move branded “tragic” by charity workers and anti-poverty campaigners.

Mike Strachan, from charity Dundee The Caring City, said he wasn’t surprised by the security threat to Lynx products. He said: “It’s a sign of how desperate things are becoming . It’s a sad situation when people feel they have to steal goods just to keep clean.

“It’s the first I’ve heard of this type of thing happening, but some of the action groups are probably quite aware of this being the case.

“It’s a reflection of the system that we live in that we are having to put security tags on something which should be a basic human right — the right to be clean.”

A Co-operative food store

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Local Conservative MSP Bill Bowman said: “It is a sad indictment of the level of crime in parts of Dundee that shopkeepers are having to put security tags on low value items like shower gel.”

A spokesman for The Co-op said: “As part of our security measures we vary the range of products that we apply security tags to in order to deter criminal activity.

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“We work closely with the police, and explore a range of security measures to deter theft and to increase the likelihood of convictions.

“This can include security tags on a range of products.”

Lynx, owned Unilever, is marketed “towards the young male demographic”.

Stobswell was listed as one of the highest crime areas in Scotland in the 2012 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation and in the bottom fifth in the country for deprivation generally.