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News GP convicted of cigaree fraud

A RESPECTED Larkfield GP has been given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, after admitting being part of a smuggling gang buying illegal cigarettes to sell on the black market. Dr Alan Pollock (49), from Lark-

field, together with Jayne White (54) and her daughter Lucy White (20) from Westminster Square, Maidstone, illegally bought ciga- rettes in airport departure lounge shops using counterfeit boarding cards. The mother and daughter were stopped by Border Force officers at Gatwick Airport in April 2013, whilst waiting to board a domestic flight to Edinburgh. The pair were then arrested and questioned byHMRCofficers after they found in their possession 3,000 duty-free cigarettes, which can only be bought if travelling outside the European Union. Jayne White, a former Gatwick airport worker, claimed the pair were due to travel to Oslo later that day and presented counterfeit boarding cards in an attempt to jus- tify buying the cigarettes. During a search of the Whites’

home and Jayne White’s car, HMRC officers found more coun- terfeit boarding passes and evi- dence showing there had been

Comment No abstentions

Dear Sir – Like many people I keep a close eye on the activities of the planning commiee at Maidstone Council and I can’t help noticing how many times our councillors on the planning commiee have abstained from voting for no good reason. Theywere elected to represent the people of Maidstone who voted for them and are on the planning commiee to vote either yes or no to any given application – it is not acceptable to abstain from voting to save the council from having to defend an appeal, or for political or other reasons. They are also not there to

agree with planning officers, but to make an informed choice according to the recommendations both for and against. Recentlywe have seen the Bridge Nursery, Allington and Clock House Farm, Coxheath planning applications blighted by abstentions. The planning system needs a

good shake-up and if councillors don’t have the courage to vote they should not be on the commiee. A Polei, Allington

30 Malling April 2015

multiple, illegal purchases of duty- free cigarettes between February 2011 and April 2013. The investigation also uncovered

that Pollockwas a key player in the scam, having helped Jayne White to make travel arrangements and produce counterfeit boarding passes for flights to non-EU desti- nations including Geneva, Zurich, Tenerife and Lanzarote from his home computer. The VAT and duty evaded on the cigarettes came to a total of £27,518. All three were charged and later admitted the fraudulent evasion of VAT and duty. They were sen- tenced at Lewes Crown Court. Pollock also faced fraud charges

for possession of false rail tickets and a fraudulent travel document stamping device. Both Pollock and Jayne White

were sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years. Lucy White pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of VAT and duty totalling £6283 and was sen- tenced to 250 hours of unpaid work.

side the EU.” Sentencing Dr Pollock, Judge An-

thony Scott-Gall said: “It baffles me that as a respected GP you became involved in this squalid criminality. With a good salary and consider- able wealth, you had to go grub- bing around making dirty money buying duty-free cigarettes and flogging them off. What a terrible fall from grace.” Detective Constable Colin Say-

Alan Tully, assistant director of criminal investigation with HMRC, said:“Wewill not stand by and let people rip off the law-abid- ing public.HMRCis determined to detect, disrupt and bring those who break the law before the courts. “Duty-free cigarettes are re- stricted for purchase in the UK for those travelling outside of the EU. This gang was trying to fool air- port workers by presenting fake boarding cards, whichwould have shown they were travelling out-

sell, of British Transport Police’s Organised Crime Unit, said: “Ticket fraud is a serious offence and profoundly unfair to the mil- lions of people who pay to travel on the rail network every day. This was a sophisticated and well- planned criminal enterprise and today’s sentence sends a clear mes- sage that ticket fraud will not be tolerated.” Anyone with information about people involved in alcohol smug- gling and tax evasion is encouraged to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000 or via the website ingfraud/online.htm

Open days

PROPERTIES and gardens of cul- tural and historical interest in Ton- bridge and Malling cannowregister to take part in this year’s Heritage Open Days. The scheme, organised by English Heritage, will run from Thursday to Sunday September 10 to 13, and of- fers free entry to sites that are not usually open to the public, or would normally charge an entrance fee. The local open days are co-ordi-

Albert Hall date for dancers

DANCERS fromthe Silhouette Dance and Theatre School in Snodland have performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Principal Louise Andrews said 24

dance schools were selected from throughout the UK to dance in the Mardi Gras event and Silhouette was chosen to open the show with its Lion King routine. "Our dancers were aged from six

upwards.We travelled by coach and spent the day rehearsing at the the- atre," she said. "It was a wonderful

day and an experience that we will all remember for a very long time.” The school was established in

1978 and Louise took over in 2008. Apart from the original Snodland branch it has also extended to Ley- bourne, Hildenborough and Holbor- ough Lakes. Classes include ballet, tap, modern, jazz, musical theatre and drama. The school performed at the

Royal Albert Hall in 2010 and pupils were invited to perform on a cruise ship in 2012 and 2014.

Dog mess complaints on path

A FOOTWAY in Kings Hill has been named “poo path” by residents due to owners not picking up after their pets.

The parish council said the path

near McArthur Drive had been pro- vided with a dog bin that dispenses

waste bags. Residents who witness any dog fouling are asked to contact the Tonbridge and Malling dog war- den on 01732 876147. To suggest an area that needs an additional bin, they can email king-

nated by Tonbridge and Malling Council, The Malling Society and Tonbridge Civic Society. Robert Styles, Tonbridge and Malling Council’s director of street scene and leisure, said: “Last year’s event was so successful we’ve ex- tended it from two days to four days.” To register a property, visit days. The closing date is Friday, April 24.

Solar gate plan NEW security barriers at the en- trance of New Hythe Business Park in BellinghamWay, Larkfield were approved by Tonbridge and Malling Council. The scheme also includes a small solar panel that willpower the gates.

Flats agreed PLANNING permission was granted to convert ThePumpHouse in Forstal Road, Aylesford into five flats with 12 parking spaces.

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