A FARMER’S attempt to defraud the taxman out of £300,000 was labelled a “cynical attempt to cheat the honest majority” by HM Revenue and Customs.

Wiltshire farmer Anthony Price was jailed for three years and five months on Monday after a Swindon jury found him guilty of three counts of fraud.

Over more than five years, 64-year-old Price had fraudulently claimed back tax on cattle sales and other VAT-exempt goods and services.

Reacting to the sentence, HMRC assistant director of fraud investigation Zoe Ellerbeck said: “Page knew what exactly what he was doing – this was a cynical attempt to cheat the honest majority who play by the rules. He is now paying the price for his actions.

“Criminals like Page create an uneven playing field and steal money needed to fund our vital public services, which is something we will not tolerate.

"Anyone with information about tax fraud should report it to HMRC online or contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Judge Jason Taylor QC said Page had created a “tissue of lies” to try and hide his fraud. His farm office had burned down the day before one HMRC visit in 2014, with many of his papers destroyed in the blaze.