Woman who ran Crusoe Hotel and Dunnikier House Hotel is jailed for tax fraud

A woman who ran two Fife hotels has been jailed for a £380,000 VAT fraud which took place over the course of five years.
Dunnikier House Hotel in Kirkcaldy has since changed hands and has a new name.Dunnikier House Hotel in Kirkcaldy has since changed hands and has a new name.
Dunnikier House Hotel in Kirkcaldy has since changed hands and has a new name.

Lesley Dykes, 66, of Markinch, stole the money during a five-year fraud, a HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigation revealed.

Between August 2011 and July 2014 she submitted false returns for The Crusoe Hotel in Lower Largo and The Dunnikier House Hotel in Kirkcaldy and then failed to submit any returns at all from August 2014 to July 2016 – evading £380,000 in tax.

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Huge amounts of sales records were seized by officers, documents that Dykes said had been destroyed during a flood.

Today HMRC said that the amount stolen was the equivalent of 15 new nurses’ salaries.

Cheryl Burr, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “This was a cynical and contrived plot to steal money that helps fund our public services.

"The tax this hotelier stole is the equivalent annual salary of 15 new-start nurses in Scotland.

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“HMRC will continue to pursue the minority of criminals who attack the tax system and we ask anyone with information about suspected VAT fraud to report it to HMRC online or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Sineidin Corrins, Procurator Fiscal for Tayside, Central and Fife said: “The investigation into Lesley Dykes’ fraudulent activity was complex and lengthy.

"The sentence should serve as a warning to others who seek to steal from the public purse.

“We will continue to work in partnership with HMRC to ensure those who seek to profit from VAT fraud are brought to justice.”

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HMRC officers raided Dykes’ home in Markinch’s Mount Frost Place as well as the two hotels on 9 August 2016.

Documents, mobile phones and computers were seized from the three premises. Huge amounts of sales records from both hotels were taken by officers – documents that Dykes had previously told HMRC were destroyed in a flood.

She was charged with VAT fraud the same day after being interviewed under caution.

On 17 November 2020 Dykes pleaded guilty to VAT fraud and was sentenced to two years in jail on Thursday.

She operated the properties with her husband Andrew Dykes whose not guilty plea to the same charge was accepted by the Crown last month.