Ex South Yorkshire Policeman Sentenced For Fraud

A former South Yorkshire police officer who admitted a £300 million VAT fraud believed to be the biggest in UK history will be sentenced today.

Nigel Cranswick, 47, was a director of Ideas 2 Go which he ran from a small office in a Sheffield business park and claimed to have bought and sold at least £2 billion of goods in just eight months.

He has since admitted the firm's trading, largely in mobile phones and computer software, was fictitious and the aim was to generate paperwork from fake sales in order to claim back a fortune in VAT from HMRC.

A source close to the case, which has taken five years to investigate, said it was believed to be the largest of its kind ever taken to court.

Cranswick, of Danby Road, Kiveton, South Yorkshire, admitted conspiracy to cheat HMRC at a hearing last month.

Five co-defendants he worked with will also be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.

After Cranswick admitted fraud, Paul Rooney, HM Revenue & Customs assistant director for criminal investigation, said: ``This was a sophisticated fraud designed to steal hundreds of millions of pounds of tax.

``HMRC investigators unravelled a complex web of fake business transactions, fabricated to conceal the massive financial fraud.''

Cranswick joined South Yorkshire Police aged 33 in 1997 and left the force a few weeks after I2G had started trading in 2005.

Cranswick, who rented a villa in Marbella, styles himself as a singer-songwriter and can be seen on his website strumming a guitar to a song called Hit And Miss with the opening lines: ``I'm in trouble, falling down a hole, how I got here, I won't ever know.''

He is lead singer with an indie band called Not the Police.