A FISHERMAN who earned £248,000 in a five-year period failed to pay any tax, a court has heard this morning.

David Shaun Truscott, of West End, Penryn, was sentenced for two counts of fraudulent evasion of income tax and national insurance, after pleading guilty last month.

The 50-year-old committed the offences between 2013 and 2018, despite being convicted for a similar offence in 2014, for which he received a suspended prison sentence.

Prosecutor Ian Graham said Truscott had earned £248,000 as a fisherman during the five-year period and is still working today.

He had failed to complete forms or tax returns and had subsequently not paid £47,000 of tax which he owed.

He said that his previous conviction in 2014 had been for the same offence and there was "some overlap" between the dates of the latest offences and the conviction of the previous one.

He therefore committed the offences "not without knowledge of what he should be doing and over a sustained period of time", said Mr Graham.

Defending Truscott, Robin Smith said that Truscott is a fourth generation fisherman who had first started going to sea as a child.

He said he was not well educated and was unable to read or write.

"That is not an excuse, but an explanation," said Mr Smith.

He added that Truscott, who has worked on the Falmouth-registered Golden Fleece II for 30 years, buried his head in the sand before the first conviction in 2014.

Then, following an incident at sea in 2015, he "buried his head in the bottle".

Mr Smith said that he has since sought help and is now "fully signed up" to a fishermen's scheme into which he pays money to cover tax. He has also taken steps to address his offending and alcohol intake.

In determining a sentence, Recorder Philip Mott asked whether he was able to carry out unpaid work, but given the nature and hours of his work, it was considered unlikely he would be able to fulfil the community order.

He said an "aggravating factor" was that the offences were committed during the term of Truscott's suspended prison term, but he could not consider it a breach of that sentence because they had not been detected during that time.

He added that it was "not a sophisticated form of tax evasion" and Truscott's offences were in fact committed because he had done "nothing at all".

Recorder Mott sentenced him to a 16-month jail term suspended for two years and ordered him to pay £535 costs.

He will also have to pay back the £47,000 tax which he has evaded.