An Isle of Wight hotel owner, who lied about his takings to evade tax, has been jailed for 30 months.

Martin Hill, 51, pocketed £350,000 by lying about the number of bookings at the Burlington Hotel in Avenue Road, Sandown and the Shanklin Beach Hotel on Shanklin Esplanade – an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed.

The Shanklin Beach Hotel has been under new ownership since June 2017.

Mr Hill, of Calle la Font del Salmitre, Sant Joan d’Alacant, Alicante, Spain, under-declared sales for the two hotels between March 2014 to April 2016 and pocketed the VAT he charged guests.

Ben Moore, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Hill lied to steal and cheat honest taxpayers. Instead of enjoying the proceeds of his crime, he will now be spending time behind bars.

“Tax fraud steals money from our public services such as hospitals and schools. Anyone with information about suspected tax fraud can report it to HMRC online or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Mr Hill was arrested in September 2016 following searches at his home and hotels, with investigators seizing computers, business and personal records.

On April 15, at Southwark Crown Court, Mr Hill pleaded guilty to three charges of VAT evasion. He was sentenced to 30 months in jail on Monday (10) at the same court, and banned as a director for seven years.

Confiscation proceedings are under way to recover the stolen money.

*The sentencing is not connected to any other businesses of a similar name.