A 36-year-old plumber from Stockport was arrested yesterday on suspicion of failing to pay the correct personal and business taxes for almost 10 years.

The man also continued to receive tax credit payments, despite earning a suspected £100,000 a year from his plumbing business and undeclared income from rental properties. An investigation into tax and benefit fraud by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) identified suspected fraud of around £120,000.

Sandra Smith, HMRC assistant director of criminal investigation, said: “HMRC investigators are working to identify tax evasion and associated money laundering by self-employed tradespeople who think they can live and operate outside the law. Those who fail to pay their taxes often have no issue charging their customers VAT or claiming benefits they aren’t entitled to. They then spend their fraudulent income on extravagant lifestyles, all at the expense of honest taxpayers.

“The message is clear: if you choose to defraud the tax system or claim benefits you are not entitled to, we can and will track you down. If you know anyone who is evading their taxes, you can tell HMRC via the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

The plumber, who refused a chance to come forward and make a full and open tax disclosure during HMRC’s plumbers’ tax campaign in 2011, has been bailed until August 2014.