A clothing chain boss who pocketed tax deducted from his staff's wages has been jailed.

Kemal Gediz, of Latchingdon Court in Forest Road, Walthamstow, failed to pay a VAT bill for his firm Punkyfish and stole £68,000 in tax and national insurance contributions.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigators discovered the 49-year-old deliberately under-declared his sales to avoid paying up to £500,000 in VAT.

In May 2011, Gediz submitted a tax return for Aliko Ltd, trading as Punkyfish, which declared sales totalling £1.2 million for 18 months starting in November 2009.

But investigators later found documents which showed sales of £7.3 million.

Further checks found Gediz had not submitted any tax details for approximately 70 staff.

He was sentenced to 18 months in jail at Canterbury Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty in April.

David Margree, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigations at HMRC, said: "Kemal Gediz’s idea of getting ahead in business was to falsify his accounts and steal from his own employees.

"In doing so he deceived not only HMRC and his staff, but also the thousands of businesses that operate honestly and within the law.

"HMRC will thoroughly investigate suspected tax fraud, and bring enforcement action against those who cheat the system."