A Walton electrician who fraudulently claimed more than £1.5m in VAT repayments has been jailed for three years and eight months.

Melvyn Horton, 58, of Ashley Rise, used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle complete with expensive holidays and funding private education.

Horton, who ran Cobham Electrical Ltd, used fake invoices to make claims for VAT refunds to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) between 2009 and 2013 and received a total of £1,533,598.82.

He was caught after he was found to have stolen the identities of seven companies to create fake sales and purchase invoices and was arrested at his home in June 2013.

Horton pleaded guilty to one charge of furnishing a false document in January and in May admitted withdrawing £82,000 of money he obtained through the fraud from his bank account after his arrest.

Horton was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court on June 6 to two years and eight months in prison for the VAT fraud and one year for the money laundering offence, to run consecutively.

He was also disqualified from being a company director for 15 years.

Andrew Sackey, assistant director of criminal investigation at HMRC, said: "Criminals like Horton who take a positive decision to steal from the tax system and, ultimately, from every honest taxpayer in the UK must pay the price.

"In this case as well as being sent to jail, we are now looking to recover the profits of his criminal conduct."

Anyone with information about fraud should call the customs hotline on 0800 595000.