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Anthony Jones from Kingsnorth and David Dobson of New Romney convicted of money laundering

By Paul Hooper

Undercover customs officers cracked a booze duty scam which netted a New Romney haulage director up to £800,000.

Anthony Jones used his slice of the profits from the illegal scheme on fast cars, motorbikes, gambling and flash holidays.

But the 48-year-old disgraced director now claims he is homeless, penniless, facing a second bankruptcy and being dumped by his wife.

A booze duty scam netted a New Romney haulage director up to £800,000. Stock image
A booze duty scam netted a New Romney haulage director up to £800,000. Stock image

Jones, of Finn Farm Court, Kingsnorth has been jailed for six-and-a-half years after admitting money laundering and three offences relating to his role as a director.

Canterbury Crown Court heard how the booze was brought into the UK and through a "sophisticated operation using shadow companies" where tax was avoided and the alcohol was sold on the cheap in the Bradford area.

But Judge, Catherine Brown told Jones: “Some people might suggest that this type of crime is victimless... the fact is that is far from the case.

"The loss of revenue to the Exchequer results in money not being available for hospitals, schools, social care... or can result in cuts and all the implications that has to the most vulnerable in society.”

The court heard how HMRC and police officials trailed Jones and Hardip Singh, from Bradford, to the M25 service station at South Mimms in June 2016.

There, Singh placed a blue holdall containing £145,806 into the boot of a black Range Rover driven by Jones, the court heard.

Judge Catherine Brown said it was "not a victimless crime"
Judge Catherine Brown said it was "not a victimless crime"

Officers then raided Jones’ home and discovered another £138,430 in sterling and $7,376 in US dollars.

Five months later, the home was raided again when another £10,740 in cash was seized.

Officials then went through Jones’ bank account which revealed £357,000 in cash had been deposited.

Judge Brown heard how £50,000 was blown on holidays for disqualified company director Jones and his wife; £67,000 spent on vehicles and another £50,000 withdrawn in cash.

Prosecutor Louise Oakley said the proceeds of the two-year scam had gone “to pay for a lavish lifestyle, glamorous holidays, new cars, a Ducati motorbike and gambling.”

The disqualified company director had broken rules to set up four bogus companies and rented a haulage yard called The Flots in Romney Marsh, which was run by David Dobson.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court
The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

Dobson, 56, of Pippin Close, New Romney, admitted money laundering and was given a nine month jail sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to wear an electronic tag for the next six months.

He now works as a £30,000 a year driver collecting milk from farms.

The third man, Singh, 47, was given a 12 month community order, carry out 250 hours of unpaid work for the community and told to pay £1000 in court costs.

He admitted smuggling booze into the UK.

Jones, who appeared in the dock using crutches after a motorcycle accident in Portugal, claimed he no longer had any money or home and his relationship with his wife had also broken down.

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