A HAYES man was among a gang of nine that stole £34m in VAT and laundered £87m after selling illicit alcohol. They have now been jailed for more than 46 years.

The group created a complex chain of paperwork detailing fictitious transactions, which were used as a cover for the illicit sale of smuggled alcohol.

Evidence showed £87m was laundered through more than 50 bank accounts in Britain and abroad.

An HM Revenue and Customs investigation found the gang operated from an office in Eton High Street and then moved to Windsor during the two-year fraud.

They were caught red-handed when officers installed covert cameras in one of the offices being used by the gang.

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Richard Mayer, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “The sums stolen could have paid the equivalent of 1,400 salaries of newly-qualified teachers – enough to fully staff around 93 schools.”

Six men were jailed earlier this year after a three month trial. Of the remaining three, one pleaded guilty in May and two were convicted after a second trial, which ended after eight weeks on July 26.

Waqas Aslam, 39, of Church Road, Hayes, was convicted after a trial of cheating the public revenue. He was convicted at Southwark Crown Court in July and sentenced today (6) to 26 weeks in jail, suspended for 24 months and 150 hours of unpaid work.