MP to probe haulier's tax bill

AN MP is looking into a haulier's claim that he should not be liable for a £98,000 fuel tax bill. Mark Crofton-Sleigh, from Burston, near Diss, stood trial at Norwich Crown Court charged with knowingly using a mixture of diesel and kerosene central heating oil to run his fleet of lorries.

AN MP is looking into a haulier's claim that he should not be liable for a £98,000 fuel tax bill.

Mark Crofton-Sleigh, from Burston, near Diss, stood trial at Norwich Crown Court charged with knowingly using a mixture of diesel and kerosene central heating oil to run his fleet of lorries.

He bought the fuel from a Norwich firm, three of whose employees were also on trial accused of supplying it to the haulier.

Two of the men and Mr Crofton-Sleigh were found not guilty, while the third fuel company employee admitted the offences and was jailed for 18 months.


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During the Customs investigation, seven of Mr Crofton-Sleigh's lorries were impounded for several weeks and he hired replacements.

Having been found not guilty of fuel evasion, he was astonished to receive a demand for £98,745 tax due on the fuel.

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“My life has been turned into a nightmare in the four years since Customs first arrived in my yard. I stand to lose my home if I am forced to pay this bill,” said Mr Crofton-Sleigh.

“Apparently the fact a crown court jury found me innocent and one of the men who supplied me pleaded guilty are not good enough for Customs and Excise. It's outrageous they are still after me. I fully accept tax is payable on the fuel, but it should be paid by the people who supplied me.”

Mr Crofton-Sleigh, who is now a lorry driver, has filed for compensation from Customs and Excise, arguing the case and confiscation of his lorries put him out of business.

Richard Bacon, the South Norfolk MP, said he was looking into Mr Crofton-Sleigh's case.

A Customs and Excise spokesman said: “We do not comment on individual cases that may still be subject to legal proceedings.”

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