Former tax inspector jailed for £1m Tesco blackmail plot

A former tax inspector was today jailed for six years for attempting to
blackmail supermarket giant Tesco.

Philip McHugh sent 76 letters to Tesco threatening to bomb stores and
contaminate products last July, and on two occasions demanded £500,000 from the

Tesco closed 14 stores as a security precaution when the threats were made,
costing the chain £1.4m in lost earnings.

The BBC reports that the judge at St Albans Crown Court said McHugh was
guilty of a sustained and serious effort to extort money from the chain. Last
year McHugh had pleaded guilty to sample charges of blackmail and bomb hoaxes.

McHugh had built up debts of £37,000 from online gambling and had threatened
to put caustic soda in yoghurt and bomb stores if the Tesco did not make large
deposits into his bank account.

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